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Who Is This Man Ababu Namwamba ? A Portrait of Valor...

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Ababu Namwamba has grown to become one of the most influential political leaders and a strong defender of human rights in Kenya, within a short span of time. But who exactly is this mystic man whose name already evokes such intense passions?

Namwamba at a political rally

Hon. Ababu Namwamba EGH, MP 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 Maina Namwamba and the Late Peter Namwamba Lwecheche, of the extensive Abamulembo clan among the Abanyala of the Luhya Community. Ababu is married to Prisca and is father to Nkosi, Lulu, Tanya-Helena, Ababu-Che Jnr. and Ababu-Terrah.

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Ababu Namwamba is a top Constitutional and international Lawyer having trained in Nairobi and Washington DC, USA. He holds a Masters of law (LLM) in international Law from American University’s Washington College of law, an Honors Bachelor of Law Degree from the University of Nairobi and a Diploma in legal practice from Kenya school of law. He is a distinguished Hubert Humphrey fellow, an alumnus of the prestigious Fulbright scholarship. An old boy of Kolanya Boys High school and port Victoria Mixed Primary School.

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EARLY CAREER

Before his election to parliament in 2007, Ababu had already built a highly impressive profile as a public interest attorney and crusader for accountablegovernment. He started off under the tutelage of the able eminent constitutional lawyer, Dr. Oki Ooko Ombaka at Public Law Institute (PLI) in 2002. He later founded the chambers of justice, a public interest trust he would lead 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 platform like World Social Forum in such far flung corners of the globe like Mumbai, India and Porto Alegre, Brazil. Ababu became a regular columnist with the Sunday nation during academic sabbatical spell in Washington DC. He would later shift to the Sunday standard, where he penned weekly political analysis for over five years. In 2003 He initiated the Ababu Namwamba Foundation (ANF), a private charity organization that supports education, talents and economic empowerment for hundreds of young Kenyans across the country. He calls ANF his ‘payback’ to Kenya, having been a beneficiary of Jomo Kenyatta Foundation Back in High school.

POLITICAL CAREER

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Ababu Namwamba’s political destiny was sealed way back in high school the moment he first read “Not yet Uhuru’’ A book that stirred political epic by the Late. Jaramogi Oginga Odinga. Ababu would proceed to enroll as member in the youth ranks of FORD-Kenya. He later moved to the University of Nairobi, where he was elected a student leader in 1996. In 2002 he joined Liberal Democratic Party and worked as a volunteer for the NARC juggernaut as the coalition scattered the Nyayo state to the four winds. He remained active in LDP activities including in the Diaspora during his postgraduate studies In the US. He made the natural progression from LDP to ODM in 2006, becoming one of the most accomplished orange stalwarts. His bid for Budalang’i seat in 2007 was a culmination of this political odyssey, Smart ‘ikholo’. He won the elections with ease, retaining the seat in 2013. In 2014 he rose to the influential position of ODM secretary general, a position he held until July 2016 when he resigned citing frustrations and sabotage that had made it impossible for him to effectively execute the mandate of his office.

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Today, Ababu is serving his second term in the national Assembly. He also served as Kenya’s Minister for sports and youth affairs from 2008 to 2013. He worked impeccably as a permanent secretary for ODM, then Kenya’s single largest party both in and out of parliament. During the 2013 political battle, he fashioned and superbly marshaled two frontline platoons, ODM- Reloaded and CORD effect which captured the political imagination countrywide, leading to him being baptized ‘Generali’ by the millions of ODM/CORD followers across the country. He currently chairs accountability Kenya, a registered nonprofit umbrella mandated to champion accountability in the use of public resources. The high profile Budalang’i legislator has previously chaired Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee, Justice and Legal Affairs Committee and the landmark Parliamentary Select Committee on cost living. He has been a Secretary of Bunge Football club, which he is a lead striker holding all time record of most goals scored from 2013, He anchored African Organization of Public Accounts Committee (AFROPAC) whose secretariat, he brought to Nairobi in September 2013.

ACHIEVEMENTS

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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 Namwamba holds the record of the highest number of successful motions in the 10th parliament and has over ten bills to his name in the 11thparliament. He has transformed the fortunes of Budalang’i from a hitherto back water flood ravaged land to a respected thriving constituency earning the adoration of his voters. 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 trendsetting ISAMBO Beach Carnival that is rebranding Budalang’i as an exotic tourist destination are among the topachievements that have already sealed his legacy as Budalang’i MP. His reign as sports and Youth affairs Minister will be remembered. He initiated the enacting of the long desired sports act and rolling out the National Youth Council. In 2012, Ababu Namwamba was conferred the National Honor of Elder of the Golden Heart (EGH) by retired President Mwai Kibaki. He was voted a young global leader by the World Economic Forum in 2009. In 2003 he won the Jubilee Global award for social justice in recognition of his international human rights work and in 2014 he ascended to the coveted seat of secretary general of ODM, then Kenya’s largest political party. In October 2015 he clinched the OLX SOMA legislator of the year award. Among His most accomplished gifts as a national leader is international networking, boasting of intricate close ties within the diplomatic corps across the world. In the summer of 2015 Ababu Namwamba was a special guest of Icelandic president Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, who hosted him at his residence. His Lwecheche beach residence in Magoye, 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 Mlunar.

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In the circles of legal profession, Hon. Namwamba is among pioneers in public litigation for the voiceless and defenseless. He got a national attention in 2004 when he won a landmark legal battle in which his client, a Kenyan-born Pakistani was wrongfully accused of terrorism activities, 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 a case for chambers of Justice and Nyumbani Children home after two schools in Ngong’ and Karen barred Children from Nyumbani Children Home on accounts of their health. As a counsel for Swiss national Marianne Bryner, Ababu was again in the public eye in 2004/5 as he played a central role in the last probe into mysterious death of 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 association, He interacted with top world leaders including former UN secretary general, Kofi Anan and US President Barrack Obama.

INSPIRATION

With the why not spirit as his driving philosophy, Ababu says God and his family are the center of his universe, and draws inspiration from his family. ‘’conviction, honesty and a genuine love for the people I serve whenever, wherever. You got to stand for something or you will fall for anything.’’ He equips. His greatest source of inspiration include; Nelson Mandela, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, Abraham Lincoln and Barrack Obama. Ababu acknowledges Jaramogi Oginga Odinga whose “Not Yet Uhuru” first shaped his political philosophy and Raila Odinga for political mentorship. In response to the question as to why he stands up against all odds, he quotes Abraham Lincoln: “To remain silentwhen 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’’

HOBBIES

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Ababu Namwamba loves playing and watching soccer, when not scoring goals with Bunge FC, he watches his cherished side Arsenal, the English football club he supports. He enjoys gardening, nature exploration, reading and writing. He is widely travelled and has virtually visited all parts of Kenya, as well as parts of the world such as USA, India, Britain, Switzerland, Norway, France, Germany .Belgium and a clutch of African Countries.

Hail the king….

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