Is Ababu’s discovery of fame ‘making or killing’ him?
By Jeeh Wanjurah
You can tell when Ababu Namwamba is bristling with passion for a cause he does not believe in.
Although the Budalangi MP is ordinarily well spoken, he tends to save his best eloquence for such moments especially where TV news is guaranteed.
There will be many lyrical sound bytes and a litany of warnings over looming damnation if so-and-so does not urgently embrace the Ababu creed. But the hard-wrinkled face delivering the warning soon breaks into expansive smiles like in a movie scene with a happy ending.
On such occasions, Ababu will have dressed the part. His sense of grooming has proportionately improved with his discovery of fame, disputed fortune, and controversies.
Depending on the occasion, there will be an immaculate, well-fitting suit, a matching tie and power shoes. Or it could be a nice casual shirt over a leather jacket and matching pants.
Whichever the occasion, there will be thin-rimmed glasses, a shiny watch, bracelets and whenever the neck skin permits, a conspicuous chain. The box-style haircut has lost its sharp contours over the years perhaps in appreciation of his true age.
The sharp dressing was evident this week when Ababu, in the company of Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo junior, turned up at a press conference with what he said was the magic bullet for the teachers-government impasse over salary rise.
There a few jealous types who murmur that Ababu is a show-off eager to catch up on years lost to an average childhood. The MP has not helped much in discouraging these murmurs with his penchant for posting on social media pictures of his exotic holiday rendezvous.
But the flip side of this is to salute a rare Kenyan MP who can dare post on Facebook pictures of good times with Mrs without fearing an avalanche of child-maintenance and spouse-neglect suits.
Before the presser, Ababu had hinted at a ‘major’ announcement in the offing. Such promises tend to be common with his party nowadays even when it turns out that the only major thing in them is the expectation. At least this time, there was something.
Like a good teacher who allows his students enough time to confirm their inability to think cleverly like him before helpfully stepping in, on paper, the simplicity of the MP’s proposal makes the government look collectively foolish.
The MP wants overpaid MPs like himself and other high-earning public officers forced to surrender half of their pay to fund striking teachers’ demands. But there are huge and obvious question marks on Ababu’s proposals.
The timing is obviously suspect. Teachers have intermittently wrestled with the government over better salaries long before the ODM secretary general learnt to say ‘a’, ‘ba’, ‘bu!’ MPs, like many other top civil servants, have been earning fat salaries for years. There is no record of the second-term MP hitherto agitation for teachers’ welfare. What is on record, however, is the MP joining his colleagues in dipping his snout in the deepest end of the feeding trough.
Unless his is a genuine case of belated conversion, faith in Ababu’s restraint in public expenditures is a hard sell.
His tenure as chairman of the Public Accounts Committee is a catalogue of wanton expenditures in suspect fact-finding missions. How many trips, for instance, did Ababu and his team make in the name of investigating the ‘Hustler Jet’ controversy? And what about the BVR kits probe?
Would he look a teacher in the eye and argue they were all necessary? And what about all those trips to Mombasa ostensibly to write the reports?
Does anyone remember what the disbanded PAC members had to say about Ababu’s technical appearances in those committees!
But just in case anyone still believed in Ababu’s honesty in his teacher’s proposal, where did he go to immediately after announcing his motion?
He’s reportedly in New York perhaps on a study mission of how best to spend the money saved from the implementation of his motion. But seriously, what exactly is his New York agenda? How will it help the nation? Is it a money-saving mission?
This blog was written by Jeeh Wanjurah, and the opinions expressed herein do not represent the views of Citizen Digital or the Royal Media Services.
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