Hon Dennis Ombachi Profile – MCA Marani Ward
He has this calm spirit around him, a relaxed mien, which one, may confuse for a laid back persona. But behind all these, is a suave, unassuming man. One who the proverbial saying of “still waters running deep apply aptly”. For his story reveals a man whose profile is profound and runs deep.
He is the current member of the county assembly of Kisii representing Marani Ward, Dennis Ombachi . A man whose entry into politics started way back during his years at the University Of Nairobi where he was studying political science and anthropology. His desire for a just and equitable society pushed him into student politics and activism. This was at the height of the single party era when the political space was constrained and civil society voice was muzzled if not stifled. This advocacy for justice in society saw his rise to student leadership in 1991-1992. An agitation that bore fruit in later years as while he was completing his undergraduate studies, The Student Organisation Of Nairobi University SONU was born, its early leaders being key political names who included the current Ruaraka MP TJ Kajwang. Although its formation came in his last year at the University, he is happy he was among those who sowed the seed of activism. Early officials of SONU at its formation were the current Mukurweini MP Kabando Wa Kabando who served as the Chairman in 1992 and Kamau Mbugua who was the secretary General.
Little did he know that the brief stint at student leadership would awaken his desire to provide leadership at a greater scale.
In representing the people of Marani Ward, the leadership skills tapped at a very nascent stage when he was the head boy at Marani Primary school have come in handy. He has been able to mentor key groups in his ward by imparting skills in various spheres of their lives. Women and Youth have been his greatest inspiration, having been single handedly brought up by his mother following the death of his father when he was but a young boy. And through skills learned when he served as a Catholic Lay Missionary between 1993-2004, he has empowered his voters in different ways. His strong spiritual background shaped his need to care for the disadvantaged in society.
Honorable Ombachi takes great interest in all church activities moreso, the Catholic church where he is a faithful and engages actively in its activities by being in the lead in fund raising events, and worshipping. His passion for the “down trodden” has seen him organize several forums for motivational speakers to talk to youth groups, women groups to instill positivity in their lives. “My mother’s strength and will to raise us after my father’s death inspired in me a need to encourage women to steer their families to great heights”, he says.
The training of women groups and youths in the society has seen a more informed electorate who are motivated to pursue their interests without a hindrance. He is one of the few leaders who didn’t move away from the locality he represents. He resides within his ward and this he says he is at reach at whatever time his constituents need him.
And it is not just the knowledge and skills that he is preoccupied with, he is empowering the very groups economically too. Honorable Ombachi has formed saccos for boda boda riders and women groups. The women Sacco referred to as Ma – Women Sacco is run by women to give loans to individuals and groups interested in entrepreneurship. Table Banking with 40 groups has seen women disburse funds of up to shs6 million shillings in a revolving fund.
The MCA is also engaged in activities to mainstream women issues and his ward is never left behind when it comes to commemoration of events to recognize the women folk like the international women day. The women being the backbone of the society have also been equipped with skills on chicken farming and small scale businesses that has seen Honorable Ombachi spearhead completion of markets with the support of the County Government in Marani. He credits Devolution for opening up areas which were previously neglected like his ward.
He says he took over leadership of a ward that lacked critical amenities disadvantaged by the fact that it was not a Town Council.
And together with H.E the Governor James Ongwae, the ward now boasts of passable village roads, and completion of four county roads improving accessibility. His leadership has seen the proposed construction of a Town hall, sub county headquarters, improved market at Gesieka, a shed at Kiomoncha and solar street lamps. Protection of water springs has also been one of the key projects in the Ward.
The first time MCA knows the value of Education. He is providing leadership at all levels. For those at higher institutions of learning, he has managed to organize fund raising for the needy who qualify to join Universities either as regular or privately sponsored students.
At the tertiary level, he has ensured the Youth Polytechnic is fully functional to offer practical skills like plumbing and construction, electrical installation, mechanics, hair dressing tailoring, carpentry and other courses. He has focused on prioritizing these entrepreneurial skills with the realization that the next frontier of development will be on practical skills. Honorable Ombachi has been instrumental in pushing for training opportunities for those eligible to Teacher Training colleges and Medical Training institutions too. At the secondary level, honorable Ombachi works closely with principals and management teams of various schools in the running and administration of these schools. His leadership at the budget committee saw him lead efforts to introduce bursary at county level to enable the needy not to miss out on education opportunities.
Honorable Ombachi has actively taken interest in education matters and this collaboration with school authorities saw the Zonal performance at KCPE level improve with more children now gaining admission to National schools.
And as a legislator he has not disappointed either. Apart from being one of the avid debaters in the plenary who make meaningful contributions, he also chairs the budget and appropriation committee. He is also a member of the Labor and Manpower committee and also the ICT committees of the County assembly.
The budget and finance committee which he chairs is one of the very powerful committees that is tasked with the approval of all funds that is allocated to the County Government and their planning. His leadership at the committee level has been quiet exemplary. This is because his committee can be singled out as one of the very active ones that provide detailed reports of bills before them, before their debate in the plenary. Through the reports members are appraised on the contents of crucial bills and thus able to engage fruitfully. Honorable Ombachi attributes the vibrancy of his committee to the team spirit exhibited by members of the committee. He says he has very brilliant members and support staff who make a lot of sacrifices to see the committee work successfully concluded.
He also singles out the Speaker of the county assembly Kerosi Ondieki for continued support to his committee and the clerk James Nyaoga for speedy facilitation that enables him perform his tasks.
The committee is actively involved in the conceptualization of the Fiscal Strategy Paper FSP, the Annual Development Plan, the Appropriation bills and the Finance bill. His leadership skills have also been felt at the ICT committee where he is a member. Together with the chair of the committee Alfred Onuko, they spearheaded the introduction of the automated revenue systems in the county to improve revenue collection.
This came after several bench marking tours of six counties to tap on the best practices. And as his first term approaches completion, and with all these successes, the Marani MCA remains modest in his achievements. He says he still wants to defend his seat. “Five years is quite a short time to do much, I need another five years to complete most of what I initiated”, he says.
Like the cliché goes, behind every successful man is a woman. This woman is Concepta Ombachi, a love that was brewed at the University of Nairobi where they met as students as she pursued her Education degree. A love that resulted to a lifetime union that has seen them bring forth five children, two sons and three daughters. His eldest daughter, is a Law student at one of the prestigious universities. His free time is dedicated to them, that is, when he is not reading books or listening to music or better still watching his favorite football team Manchester United play which are some of his favorite pass times. Athletics is also one of his favorite sports. Not forgetting that he is a dairy farmer too and living at his ward gives him time to tend to his herd
His parting shot, “Devolution must be nurtured, and the role of County assemblies strengthened to ensure this succeeds!