Namwamba is not a rebel, he fled dictatorship – DP Ruto

Namwamba is not a rebel, he fled dictatorship – DP Ruto

The ruling Jubilee Party has moved to woo the Labour Party of Kenya leader, Ababu Namwamba, to join it (Jubilee) ahead of the 2017 elections in a move likely to shift focus amongst major political factions to Western Kenya.

Deputy President William Ruto, who was speaking at Port Victoria Mixed Primary School in Budalangi Constituency where he presided over a funds drive for women groups, said that the Jubilee administration was determined to get full support from the region.

Ruto defended Namwamba over remarks by his former part, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), that he was a rebel saying that he (Namwamba) is of a different school of thoughts and cannot continue staying in a party that believes in dictatorship.

Namwamba, before decamping to the Labour Party of Kenya – where he is the leader, held the powerful post of the Secretary General in ODM.

When he was elected to the post, Namwamba represented the young generation that sought to break from the tradition that powerful party posts can only be held by the older generation.

He, however, fell apart with the party leadership accusing Raila Odinga, who is also the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) leader, accusing him of dictatorship.

Subsequently, the once vocal Namwamba who defended Odinga disappeared from the public limelight, resurfacing later positioning himself as the potential kingmaker in the vote-rich Luhyaland.

However, his much hyped Third Force Party failed to kick-off with a political movement he had started, Mulembe Consciousness, quickly fading from the public.

On September 23, 2016, the Budalangi MP, who refers to himself as General Ababu Namwamba, was unveiled as the Labour Party leader in a ceremony that was held in Nairobi’s Karen area.

Namwamba was unveiled alongside veteran journalist, David Makali, who landed the party’s Secretary General post with Prof Julia Ojiambo becoming the national chair of the 18-year old party.

The party then kicked off a popularization campaign across the country but faced resistance in Coast region, ODM’s stronghold, where youth accosted Namwamba’s convoy terming his a traitor.

On October 31, ODM expelled ten legislators deemed to have decamped terming them as Jubilee moles, Namwamba among them.

Namwamba, together with Funyula MP Paul Otuoma, had led an exodus of close to eight MPs from Western region from ODM over allegations of neglect and unfair treatment.

His co-conspirator, Otuoma, however, returned to ODM and took back his national vice chairperson position.

Other legislators expelled during the party’s National Governing Council meeting at the Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi included Kwale Governor, Salim Mvurya, Kisii Deputy Governor, Joash Maangi, Kwale Women Representative, Zainab Chidzuga, MPs John Waluke (Sirisia), Steve Kariuki (Mathare), Samuel Arama (Nakuru Town West), Masoud Mwahima (Likoni) and Viwandani MCA, Samuel Nyangwara.

The DP challenged Namwamba to join Jubilee and ‘stop political gambling’.

Namwamba, however, was non-committal saying that the Western region was no longer a colony and the electorate are of sound mind to make decisions that will lead them to prosperity.

Additional reporting by Lilian Osiema

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