Both friends and foes are yet to come to terms with Ababu’s new political strategy.
The politician says his game plan aims to unite Western region by setting up a “third force” easily distinguishable from both Cord and Jubilee. This he says will promote the region’s agenda.
However, some believe he only wants to rock ODM from within by stirring a feeling of worry or unease which he has obviously done.
Many others claim he is putting all effort to remain a headline-grabbing personality in Kenya.
In all, the MP’s actual intentions are especially confusing.
This is because more than half of the residents of his Budalang’i constituency are Luo or Luo-speaking, virtually convinced to vote for a candidate allied to ODM leader Raila Odinga.
The former strong ally of Raila in a statement relieved himself of his formal position as ODM secretary general on July 6.
He said his move was inspired by mistreatment and frustration from the ODM Chief Raila Odinga.
Other CORD members who seemingly shared his sentiment also followed suit.
Though he has not handed over his resignation letter that will seal his statement officially and has not quit the party yet, he has disclosed that he will deflect to an entirely new party.
Silverse Anami, among the MPs who joined Namwamba in accusing Raila of being a dictator released firestorm against Ababu saying:
“Namwamba is my friend and I warned him because this does not seem right. He should reconsider his move. I want to tell those championing so-called Luhya unity that we are in ODM and Cord to take over the government in 2017 … [not] to be in government”.
We will continue to fight them and they should leave our party alone, Anami, the Shinyalu ODM chairman added.
Political experts have said that Namwamba Ababu’s new political strategy to quit ODM could benefit his political career or kill it.
A few experts claimed that Ababu’s recent move was inspired by Jubilee as there is an uncanny resemblance in Ababu’s script with that of Musalia Mudavadi’s exit from ODM in the run-up to the 2013 election.
However, since in Kenya’s politics allow those looking to cling to power to either align themselves to the opposition or the ruling; no third party, experts claim Ababu might be doing himself great by trying to ruin the long-existing system.
In the presidential system since the promulgation of the new constitution, there are only two sides: Either the government side or the opposition. There is no middle ground, no so-called third force.
Butere MP and ODM secretary for Kakamega county however think Ababu’s new political strategy targets a misplaced hope to engineer some post-election agreement that will somehow get him and his allies into the next government.
The MP said the move is a selfish one and is the poorest way of planning to join the government given that it could have an unwelcome repercussion the moment something akin to a tyranny of numbers is achieved by the main coalitions in 2017.
The MP argues that the move was for the Luhya’s interest as claimed by the ex-secretary general of ODM.
He claims the region has many political parties: ODM, Ford Kenya, New Ford Kenya, the Amani National Congress, that Ababu could have joined if he really had the community at the forefront of his decision.
In an article written on The Star, on Ababu’s new political strategy and its side effects, the Mp questions:
In this context, what then is the value of the so-called third force? How can Ababu ignore all this and go for another party and then cling on to the Luhya unity mantra? What is the value of an extra political party when you are talking about Luhya unity?
He argues that he is committed to serving the interests of the community, but then why didn’t he consult? There are governors in Western Kenya, senators, MPs and MCAs, all of whom have a stake in the welfare of the region, but whom Ababu and his team have ignored.
He finally accused Ababu’s individualistic move as being for his own political interest coming just a year to the election.
Particularly because no other Luhya politician has benefited from ODM as Ababu has – as a Cabinet minister; secretary general; and also chaired both the PAC and Justice and Legal Affairs committee.