Most key political figures in the country honed their leadership skills while still in university. By taking part in student leadership, they not only formed connections with the powers that be but also learnt important lessons on leadership.
This article takes a look at ten political figures who once served as student leaders in their respective universities.
James Orengo left Alliance High School and joined the University of Nairobi where he was elected SONU chairman in 1973. As a student leader, he spoke up against the government and organized student protests. He also actively got involved in the fight against single party rule which would eventually land him in trouble, forcing him to flee to Tanzania. He is considered one of the country’s best lawyers and is currently serving as Siaya senator.
The current Kisumu governor has worked in the government for quite a number of years in different capacities including as a Member of Parliament and as a Minister. He was guild president of Makerere University between 1969/70. Professor Nyong’o graduated from the University with First Class Honors and proceeded to the University of Chicago for his Master’s and PHD.
Isaac joined active politics in 1997 after being elected Cherengany Constituency MP. The Chama Cha Mapinduzi party leader also became the first governor of Bomet following the 2013 elections. He sharpened his political skills while at the University of Nairobi and was among those arrested following the 1982 coup failure.
The popular lawyer was an activist way before Multi party democracy. He was elected student leaders at the University of Nairobi in 1986 and 1987. The university would expel him in 1987 due to his support for multi party democracy. Miguna Miguna sought asylum in Tanzania, then Swaziland before getting permanent asylum in Canada. He is currently in Canada following his deportation after swearing in Raila Odinga as the people’s president in 2017.
Omar was elected senator of Mombasa in 2013 under the Wiper party. Hassan Omar served as student leader at Moi University. He was expelled after leading a protest where he wanted the university to stop being named after Moi who was criticized for being a dictator and uneducated. He returned back to the university after Mwai Kibaki became president.
The Lenana School alumni passed Harvard’s entry exam but was unable to join the university due to finances. He joined the University of Nairobi where he was elected vice chairman of the Actuarial Students Association and later elected SONU chairman.
Known for his boldness and involvement in a number of controversies, Babu is serving as Member of Parliament for Embakasi East Constituency. Prior to joining national politics, the MP was elected as student leader at the University of Nairobi in 2011. He would go on to be elected three more times gaining the title of longest serving student leader. As a student leader, he was known for his boldness and most blamed him for the many strikes by students.
Born in a family of eight children, he attended Kolanya Boys High School before joining the university of Nairobi. At the university, he was elected students’ leader in 1996 and also became chairman of Kenya Law Students Society. He joined ODM in 2006 and successfully vied for the Budalangi parliamentary seat.
Nixon Korir serves as the Langata Constituency MP. While at the University of Nairobi, he served as congressman in 2007, school of Law president in 2008 and Secretary General of SONU in 2009.
Kabando wa Kabando
Kabando wa Kabando joined parliament in 2007 after being elected to represent Mukurwe-ini Constituency. He became a very vocal politician showing his support for Mwai Kibaki and later president Uhuru Kenyatta. Kabando was elected SONU chairman in 1992.