How Raila's Father Inspired Ababu Namwamba Into Politics

  • ODM party Leader and Foreign Affairs CAS Ababu Namwamba at a past function. Ababu served as ODM's Parliamentary Secretary of the party in the 10th parliament. Twitter
  • Ababu Namwamba is not a new name in the political circles as many fondly remember him by the 10th parliament swearing-in, where he swore by the name of opposition chief Raila Amolo Odinga rather than that of then-President Mwai Kibaki after the controversial 2007 general elections.

    In an interview with Eve Woman in 2013, the former Budalangi MP opened up about the one thing that lured him into politics at a very tender age.

    The current Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, revealed that Raila's father Oginga Odinga was his first inspiration to politics.

    an image of the book Not yet uhuru that  was authored by Oginga Odinga
    The cover page of Oginga Odinga's 1967 book Not Yet Uhuru. Former Budalangi MP Ababu Namwamba says the book inspired him to register as a member of Ford Kenya while in secondary school.

    Through his 1967 book 'Not Yet Uhuru', Ababu says Oginga gave him the push he needed to launch himself into politics and register as a member of a political party.

    "Although I plunged into politics in 2003, the late Jaramogi Oginga’s book, Not Yet Uhuru, greatly influenced me when I read it in class seven. Not only was it my favourite book, but it also moved me to the extent that I enrolled in the youth ranks of Ford-Kenya when I was in high school," Ababu told the magazine.

    After joining University in 1993, Ababu remained actively involved in politics and was elected as a student leader at the University of Nairobi in 1996 when he was in his third year at the university's school of law.

    "I remained active at the university, where I was elected a student leader in 1996. In 2002, I joined the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)," he added.

    He was actively involved in LDP activities including in the diaspora during his master's studies at the Washington College of  Law in the US.

    In 2006 Ababu ditched the LDP  and joined the Orange Democratic Party (ODM) and in 2007 vied for the Budalangi parliamentary seat which he won with ease.

    He served as Parliamentary Secretary of ODM parliamentarians from 2008 to 2013, and Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs from 2012.

    In 2016, Ababu quit ODM where he was serving as secretary-general. 

    He felt that the party leader, Raila Odinga, who had vied for the presidency twice and sone of the man who inspired him into politics, was no longer capable of convincing voters to support him. 

    He joined the then newly-relaunched Labour Party of Kenya, and since September 2016 was the leader of the Labour Party until February 2018 when he stepped aside.

    Out in the cold, in January 2018, he was nominated to the controversial position of Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was sworn into office in March of the same year.

    Foreign Affairs CAS Ababu Namwamba speaking to the press in a past function
    Foreign Affairs CAS Ababu Namwamba speaking to the press in a past function. He left ODM and joined the Labour Party of Kenya ahead of the 2017 general election where he ended up losing his Budalangi seat.