• April 15, 2024
  • Last Update April 15, 2024 8:58 AM
  • Nairobi

What Ababu Must do to Avoid Political Suicide

What Ababu Must do to Avoid Political Suicide

This is my unsolicited advice to Ababu Namwamba, a man I have great admiration for and who I think is down but not out. As I write this, I am reminded of the famous boxer Mike Tyson. Unfortunately, I was not old enough to watch his farewell fight on June 11, 2005. But I read that he lost the fight to one Kelvin McBride – something that did not go down well with Mr Tyson and maybe that is why he is coming back – to go home with a win.

But that’s not why I brought Tyson’s name up. I mentioned him to give some context out of something he said, which I find rather profound. He said: “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

Ababu had a plan in 2007. A good one, I presume. And like a heavyweight boxer he scored many points in his initial matches. It was not by coincidence that Ababu became the apple of Orange Democratic Party leader Raila Odinga’s eye. It wasn’t by coincidence that he was one of the best legislators in Parliament. Here was a man so good in form and substance that his clarity of thought and power of articulation in the House were second to none. That Ababu was a good legislator is not in question. 

By the way, the work of any Member of Parliament should be legislation. Building roads and schools, viewing dead bodies every weekend and dishing out monies, including bursaries, should not be the work of an MP. In short, I’m saying the Constituency Development Fund should be taken away from MPs.

But back to my unsolicited advice. In 2017, Ababu received a punch in the mouth, and a heavy one at that. And ever since, he has been grieving. But grief is something that happens to everyone at one point or another.

American-Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross had a theory that there are five stages of grief experienced mostly by terminally-ill patients near the point of death or by those close to them. This could be said of anyone who has lost anything, or is about to. Ababu lost an election so it is understandable that he has been experiencing this.

According to the Kübler-Ross model, the first stage of grief is denial. Ababu has been in denial for a long time. I know because I have been close to him. But this is typical of all politicians who lose elections – that is why they file petitions in court.

The second stage is anger. If you ever want to irritate Ababu, try discussing the merits and demerits of the 2017 elections with him. But I hear that lately he has been more open about talking about the polls.

The third stage is bargaining. I need not expound on this – it is the reason he is now the Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

The fourth stage is depression; I am not sure if he has been depressed. And the final stage is acceptance. He comes across as someone who is at this stage although I don’t think so. Many times, this stage is confused with denial.

Let me just assume he is in the acceptance stage and say what I have to say. 

In 2016, I predicted that Ababu would not win the Budalang’i parliamentary seat for a third time. And I said that if by any chance he vied and lost, he would have to wait another 10 years for the seat. My best bet for him then was to be the senator of Busia County.

It was not by coincidence that Ababu became the apple of Orange Democratic Party leader Raila Odinga’s eye. It wasn’t by coincidence that he was one of the best legislators in Parliament back then.

Right now, he has the following options concerning his political career.

First, he must go back to Raila and atone for his sins. It was Thomas Sankarawho said thatfor anyone to be in politics, they need some degree of madness. I believe Ababu can plead temporary insanity and Raila will buy it. Remember 2007? No normal man could have donewhat he did when he swore allegiance to Raila in Parliament. So now he can make an about-turn and go get sanitised. 

After this, he has two or three options, none of which include vying for the Budalang’i seat. The first would be to vie for a governorship in the next elections. He should be able to get it with ‘Baba’s support although he would need to pick a running mate from the Teso community.

The second is to run for the senatorial position in Busia or Nairobi counties. I would like to see him debating in the Senate even though I think that is donkey work. His third option would be to run as MP for Westlands Constituency in Nairobi (the current MP is going for governor). Looking at the demographics, I believe he can win the Westlands seat. 

Finally, I would like to address the (Deputy President William) Ruto factor. Mr Ruto is deadweight and if Ababu hangs around him for too long, he is going be hanged politically. He just needs to ask Rashid Echesa.

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