It is exactly a year since this writer brought you an analysis of the dirty Students Organisation of Nairobi University (SONU) politics, and today, students at the University of Nairobi head to the polls again to determine who should be their leader, but at what expense?
The whole month of campaigns has been that of hatred, tribalism and threats. The polls have seen seasoned Politicians like Babu Owino vie for the second term, while entrants like Wakoli Kunani try their best to win. There have been incidences where goons attacked other contestants to scare them from the race, and others have had to lose blood.
During such a time, the ‘goon ship business’ flourishes as goons extort money from their victims and those who fail to comply are punished thoroughly. Guns have also been used as a form of threat to the opponents. One of the candidates whose team was attacked, Obare Thomas, maintains that ‘‘no one can instil fear using guns, money or blood; it is only a coward who can run away’’. This is the kind of faith that some of the strongest contestants are exuding. But the most outstanding one has been the use of propaganda.
Contestants have been spreading all kind of rumors against their opponents. A sheet of paper seen today by this writer shows an opinion poll that indicates one contestant leading the pack. The sheet allegedly stamped and signed by Dr. Were, Chairman of Mathematics department at the University shows that Babu is leading with 50 percent and Wakoli Kunani tails with 10% among those contesting for the position of SONU chairperson.
Mike Kuria leads with 37 percent and Steve Biko tails with 10 percent for the Position of Secretary general. Another flier gives eight reasons why students should not vote for Babu Owino. The analysis alleges, “Babu Owino conspired in the murder of Mercy Keino and was paid Kshs. 640,000 by one known drug lord to go silent on the blood of the murdered students. The sheet states that “He (Babu) is a known drug lord and has more than 25 criminal cases in Kisumu and over 50 in Nairobi. It summarises the eight reasons by stating, ‘’SONU chairmanship is not and will never be a dynasty where the alumni come to serve their personal and external interests.” This is the extent to which propaganda has been used in SONU politics.
As the biggest University in Kenya, tribalism has not failed to occupy the minds of students in the campaigns. The ‘Gema’ community has allegedly fronted their own candidates while the Luo, Luhya, Kalenjin, Kisii and other small tribes battle it out with their own. One student says “if you don’t belong to any of the big tribes you can’t win. We don’t fall from skies, we are born in tribes’’.
As the students head to the polls today, Capital Campus will keep you updated on the voting and results.