Forget about Moses Kuria and Aden Duale, the most controversial Members of Parliament in the 11th Parliament. A new and more controversial entrant is in the mix.
Babu Owino’s debut in Parliament has not started without controversy. He claimed that his life was in danger immediately after his election to represent Embakasi East residents in Parliament. His fingers pointed at President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Next was during his swearing in, he swore his allegiance to Raila Odinga, and when the Assembly clerk asked him about it, he said that they had forgotten. He was forced to retake the oath, but not with less controversies as he had to add the word ‘Tibiim!’, associated with the National Super Alliance (NASA) campaign rallies.
His political ambitions started back in 2011 at the University of Nairobi, when he ran successfully for the post of the Chairman of the Students’ Organisation of Nairobi University. Since then he has clinched the seat four times consecutively, to become the longest serving student leader in Kenyan universities.
Babu is not his real name, as it originated from his childhood nickname. His real name is Paul Ongili Owino. He is one year shy off 30, having been born on October 10, 1988 in a city slum of Kondele in Kisumu.
His mother was a chang’aa seller. After he passed his primary school education he got a letter from Mang’u high school but his mother could not afford the school fees and a sponsor chipped in but took him to Kisumu High School, according to online sources.
After clearing high school in 2005, he was called to Egerton University but instead opted to do A levels after receiving a scholarship to join Millennium Academy.
“I did six units including a diploma in law, pure chemistry, statistics, applied and pure mathematics, mechanics and accounting within a span of two years. I got a distinction. I received a partial scholarship to study actuarial science at Southampton University, United Kingdom. However, raising the 30 percent needed by the university proved to be a challenge and hence ended up not going,” said Owino, in an interview with the Star.
He enrolled in 2008 to pursue a bachelor’s degree in actuarial science because of his passion for math, graduating in 2012 with first class honors. He enrolled for another degree in law, which he saw as a good combination with his political ambitions.
Like any other politician, Owino is a business man and on top of it a farmer. He has three businesses namely Averex Properties, Bluemont Constructions and Emizen Supplies, that support his flamboyant life.
All the time of his political life, he has been accused of dishing money to voters to gain political mileage, but he says, “You cannot show off with money. Personally, when someone asks me for money, I will freely give them because they are clearly in need. My life in Nyalenda slums was not easy but my family survived. Right now, we are living a good life so is helping someone out a sin?”
What few people know is that Owino is a family man. He is married to Fridah Muthoni and they are blessed with two children.