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The Sad tale of Ethnic Politics and SONU Election Rigging


At the University of Nairobi, is a student union called Students Organization of Nairobi University (S.O.N.U)  Every year the students elect their representatives in the various positions as stipulated by the SONU Constitution, 2011. SONU had elections last Friday, and what happened is as sad as it’s expressed.
Normally, all the outgoing SONU executives automatically become Student Commissioners, to work alongside Staff Commissioners who are largely operating as Returning Officers. The Chair of the Electoral Commission has in the recent past been Prof Jama Mohamud Abdi. It’s unclear why he has served in such a capacity severally yet the SONU Constitution stipulates that it should only be once.
The student commissioners elected Elvis Ochieng’ as the Lead Student Commissioner. As per the relevant constitution, the said lead student commissioner rates at the same level with the Chair of the Electoral Commission. However, to avoid interference by the staff and the administration, it’s a tradition that the Student Lead Commissioner releases the final results of the election.
Let me bring it to your attention that we had the most divided SONU election ever, pitting CORD against Jubilee. We must admit that CORD failed to fund its students while Jubilee did massively fund theirs. However, the ground was more pro-CORD and CORD candidates were better placed to win. But a section of the administration, especially Father (Dr) Wamugunda, the Dean of Students, seemed so interested in this elections that thought.
Fr Wamugunda engineered the exclusion of the students who won the positions of signatories and ensured that those from Mt Kenya won. The signatories to the SONU account are: the chairman, the secretary general and the treasurer.
The university tallying centre is traditionally Kenya Science Campus, and it’s from here that the results are declared. On Saturday, as the students camped at Kenya Science Campus waiting for the results, Prof Mbeche, the DVC Student Affairs and Father Wamugunda were at the Graduation Square in Main Campus swearing in their cronies who lost.
The swearing in was in a record three minutes, for the three signatories. When those at Kenya Science realised, they rushed to Main only to find the place clean. The students were hurt and vented their anger on university property. It was a destruction that surpasses all ever witnessed. But who was to blame? Is it a section of the administration with vested parochial interests in student politics and tribal exploits; or the students who were hurt by the behaviour of the administration and lacked a better way to deal with it instantly?
They have slapped the student leaders who won but were never sworn in with suspension letters. They’re Erick Janganya, chairman; Jim Akach, Secretary General; Philbert Kongola, Vice Chair Administration and Finance. Other students likely to be suspended include: Seth Ouma, Samwel Ragira, Calphord Odhiambo, Benard Omondi, among others.
Why is the media banned from covering the plight of these affected students? Word is going round that Francis Kimemia is at the heart of all these!

Written by Robert

Respected Kenyan blogger, tech evangelist, and social justice activist. Robert is known for his hard-hitting articles and opinions disseminated through his Twitter handle @RobertAlai or Facebook page (


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