Life of Hon. Ababu Namwamba, EGH


In September, 2016, Hon Ababu Namwamba became the youngest Party Leader in Kenya when he ascended to the helm of the Labour Party. In the last decade, Ababu has grown to become a significant political name in Kenya. So who exactly is this mystic young man whose name already evokes such intense passions on the Kenyan Political scene?


Family Background:

Ababu was born at the source of River Nile in Jinja, Uganda to Kenyan parents on December 23rd, 1975. He is the last born in a family of eight and grew up in Jinja, Kampala, Port Victoria, Eldoret and Nairobi. He is the son to Mama Agatha Namwamba and the late Peter Namwamba Lwecheche, of the extensive Abamulembo clan among the Abanyala people of the Luhya Community that reside in Western Kenya.


Ababu Namwamba Family




Ababu Namwamba is a top constitutional and international human rights attorney trained in Nairobi and Washington DC, USA. He holds a Masters law (LLM) degree in International Law from American University’s Washington College of Law, an Honors Bachelor of Laws Degree from the University of Nairobi and a Diploma in Legal Practice from Kenya School of Law. He is a distinguished Hubert Humphrey Fellow.


Abau Namwamba Graduation




 Early Career:

Before his election to Parliament in 2007 at first attempt, Ababu had already built a highly impressive profile as a public interest attorney and crusader for accountable government. He started off under the tutelage of eminent constitutional lawyer, the late Dr. Oki Ooko Ombaka at the Public Law Institute (PLI) in 2002. He later founded The Chambers of Justice, a public interest trust which he led as Chief Counsel until 2007, alongside his own law firm, Ababu Namwamba Attorneys-at-Law. During this period, Ababu Namwamba was active on the international lobbying circuit, strongly advocating for international human rights, fair trade practices and debt relief for Africa through platforms like the World Social Forum in such far flung corners of the globe as Mumbai, India and Porto Alegre, Brazil. An avid reader and consumate writer, he also became a regular columnist with the Sunday Nation and later Standard on Sunday, Kenya's top two newspapers, where he penned weekly political analysis for over five years. In 2003 he initiated the Ababu Namwamba Foundation (ANF), a private charity that supports education, talent growth and economic empowerment for hundreds of young Kenyans across the country. He calls ANF his ‘payback’ to Kenya, himself having been a beneficiary of a Jomo Kenyatta Foundation scholarship back in high school.


Political Career:

Ababu Namwamba’s political destiny was forged at a tender age as he served as student captain in both primary and high school. He would later be elected student leader at the University of Nairobi. In 2002 he joined the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and worked as a volunteer for the NARC coalition's successful 2002 election bid that saw Kibaki elected Kenya's 3rd President. He remained active in LDP activities including in the Diaspora during his postgraduate studies In USA. He made the natural progression from LDP to the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) in 2006, becoming one of the most accomplished stalwarts of the Orange Party. His bid for the Budalang’i seat in 2007 was a culmination of this political odyssey. He won the election with ease, retaining the seat in 2013. For the 2013 elections, Ababu fashioned and superbly marshaled two national frontline political platoons, ODM-Reloaded and CORD-Effect which captured the political imagination countrywide, leading to him being baptized ‘General’, a brand he proudly bears todate. Having served as ODM Parliamentary Secretary between 2008 and 2013, in 2014 Ababu rose to the influential position of ODM Secretary General. He held the position until July 2016 when he resigned citing internal sabotage and frustration that had made it impossible for him to effectively execute the mandate of his office. He subsequently quit ODM and joined Labour Party in September 2016, where he is now Party Leader. In the 2017 general elections, Ababu led his Labour Party to support the successful re-election of President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, a decision he remains very proud of even though it seems to have cost him his Budalangi parliamentary seat.


Ababu In Parliament

Besides his two terms as MP, Ababu also served in the Coalition Government as Kenya’s Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs. Prior to that, the high profile legislator chaired key Committees of Parliament, including the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Justice and Legal Affairs Committee and the landmark Parliamentary Select Committee on cost living. He also co-chaired, together with Mandera Central's Hon Abdikadir Mohamed, the historic Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitution Review (PSC) that midwifed the birth of Kenya's new Constitution. He has been Secretary of Bunge Football club, of which he was lead striker holding the all time record of most goals scored. From 2013, he anchored the African Organization of Public Accounts Committees (AFROPAC), whose secretariat he helped bring to Nairobi in September 2013. Todate Ababu still chairs Accountability Kenya, a registered non-profit umbrella body that champions accountability in the use of public resources.




Ababu has established a distinguished profile as a fine legislator, accomplished debater and fearless defender of truth, justice and the public interest. His Fidelity to the truth is anchored on Mahatma Gandhi’s teaching that "an error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it". Ababu holds the record of the highest number of successful motions in the 10th Parliament and had over ten Bills to his name in the 11th Parliament. In his ten years as MP, he fundamentally transformed the fortunes of his Budalang’i backyard from a hitherto backwater flood ravaged land to a respected thriving constituency with modern infrastructure and social amenities. Rolling back the risk of perennial floods, a unique brand new university campus initiated by CDF and later co-funded by the World Bank, transformative infrastructure projects that include tarmac roads, the iconic Sigiri Bridge and the trend-setting ISAMBO Beach Carnival that has rebranded Budalang’i as an exotic tourist destination, are among the top achievements sealed his legacy as Budalang’i MP. His reign as Sports and Youth Affairs Minister will be remembered for the enactment of the long desired Sports Act, actualization of the National Youth Council and enhancement of the National Youth Service (NYS).

In 2012, Ababu was conferred the national honor of Elder of the Order of the Golden Heart (EGH) by President Mwai Kibaki. In 2009 he was voted a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. Back in 2003, he won the Global Award for Social Justice in recognition of his international human rights work. The award was conferred by Jubilee Netherlands in Amsterdam. In October 2015, he clinched the OLX SOMA Legislator of the Year Award. Among Ababu's most accomplished gifts as a leader is international networking. He boasts of intricate close ties within diplomatic circles and across the world. In the summer of 2015, Ababu was a special guest of Icelandic President, Oláfur Ragnár Grimssön, who hosted him at his residence in Reykjavik. His Lakeview Lwecheche Beach Residence in Budalang’i has played host to some of the leading foreign envoys in Kenya, including former British High Commissioner Dr. Christian Turner and ex-Slovakian Ambassador, Mikal Mlynar.

In the circles of the legal profession, Ababu is among pioneers in public interest litigation for the voiceless and defenseless. He got national attention in 2004 when he won a landmark legal battle in which his client, a Kenyan-born Pakistani had been wrongfully accused of terrorism. It was the first case of its kind in Kenya. Ababu had already made a name in 2003 when he secured a historic ruling in a constitutional case that affirmed the right of children living with HIV/AIDS to attend public schools unfettered. He filed the case for Chambers of Justice and Nyumbani Children's Home after two schools in Ngong’ and Karen areas of Nairobi barred Children from Nyumbani on account of their HIV status. And as Counsel for Swiss national Marianne Brynner, Ababu was again in the public eye in 2004/5 as he played a central role in the last probe into the mysterious death of former Kenyan Foreign Affairs Minister, the late Dr. Robert Ouko. The Hubert Humphrey Fellow/Fulbright Alumni was a firebrand student leader at the University of Nairobi where he also chaired the Kenya Law Students Society (KLSS). He has interacted with top world leaders, including former UN Secretary General, Kofi Anan and US President, Barrack Obama.



With the "Why Not" spirit as his driving philosophy, Ababu says God and his family are the center of his universe. His sources of inspiration include Nelson Mandela, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, Abraham Lincoln and Barrack Obama. In response to the question as to why he stands up against all odds, he quotes Abraham Lincoln: “To remain silent when you must speak makes cowards of men”. And why does he love to walk where none has dared tread? He draws his answer from Ralph Waldo Emerson; “Do not go where the path leads, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail..” and concludes with George Bernard Shaw’s saying, “Some people see things that are, and ask why, but I dream of things that never were and ask why not"! The reason for his tendency to spice politics with a touch of intellectual flavor? He responds with a gem from Galileo Galilee; ‘’I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forgo their use’’! And how does he explain his falling out with ODM Leader and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga? His answer is paraphrased straight from the lips of Brutus in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar: "it's not that I loved Raila any less, I just loved Kenya more!"



Ababu Namwamba loves playing and watching soccer and also follows tennis keenly. He scored loads of goals for Bunge FC, and keenly cheers Arsenal in the English Premier League. He is a passionate fan of athletics and local football too, and strongly supports the national team Harambee Stars. He enjoys sailing, sport fishing, gardening, nature exploration, reading and writing. He is widely travelled and has visited virtually all parts of Kenya, as well as many parts of the world...USA, India, Britain, Switzerland, Norway, France, Germany, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Slovakia, Austria, Belgium...and a clutch of African Countries. Ababu considers Uganda his natural ancestral home and visits his Jinja birthplace and other parts of the country frequently.


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