WANJURAH: Why teachers must be wary of Ababu’s kindness


Ababu Namwamba
Ababu Namwamba

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.

Then he will sound like a crossbreed of a less-educated PLO Lumumba and a prosperity gospel preacher.

There will be many lyrical sound bytes and a litany of warnings over this and that.

But the hard-wrinkled face delivering the warning soon breaks into expansive smiles like in a movie scene with a happy ending.

Depending on the occasion, Ababu will be in an immaculate, well-fitting suit, a matching tie and power shoes.

Or he might turn up in 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 when Ababu, in the company of Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo junior, turned up at a press conference with his 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 or in first class or business suites of foreign airlines.

But the flip side of this is to salute a rare Kenyan MP who can dare post on Facebook pictures of goodtime with his missuses without fearing an avalanche of child-maintenance and spouse-neglect suits.

Before the presser, Ababu had hinted at a ‘major’ announcement in the offing.

Like a good teacher who allows his students enough time to confirm their stupidity before helpfully stepping in, on paper, the simplicity of his proposal on ending the teachers’ strike makes the government look collectively foolish.

The MP wants overpaid guys like himself and other high-earning public officers forced to surrender half of their pay to fund striking teachers demands.

The simplicity of it all must have left Ababu wondering why State House has not yet unveiled the ONG- Order of the National Genius- commendation yet.

But there are obvious question marks on Ababu’s proposals. The timing invites suspicions. 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 cat salaries for years.

There is no record of the second-term MP hitherto agitation for improved terms for teachers.

What is on record, however, is the MP joining colleagues in riding the public-funded gravy train and in dipping their collective snouts in the deepest end of the public taxes 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 suspect expenditures in so-called fact-finding missions.

How many foreign 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 in the era of Skype and teleconferencing?

And must every report by PAC or the Committee on the Administration of Justice – which he previously chaired – be written from an expensive coast or Naivasha hotel?

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 reportedly went to New York, perhaps on a study mission of how best to spend the money saved from the implementation of his motion? Perhaps, there is a way that this trip will eventually end up helping the teachers’ cause.

Could the nation exercise due patience in the meanwhile, until Ababu returns with a goody bag from his trip!

Jeeh Wanjurah   wanjurah.j@gmail.com

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