During the Students Organization of Nairobi University (SONU) elections of 2014, I learnt what is perhaps my most memorable political lesson; why you should never trust Wanjiku’s word in a Kenyan election. She can easily disappoint even one of her own.
It all began around the end of 2013 when a little known, humble and largely ordinary engineering comrade Wakoli Kunani, surprised us all when he declared his candidature for the coveted SONU Chairman seat in the upcoming elections of April 2017.
At first, few if any students took Wakoli’s candidature seriously; including me.
I mean, how could a student surviving on the meagre HELB loan even imagine being a candidate in a race that ordinarily required millions. How would he run a campaign. It sounded like the joke of the year.
But Wakoli would prove us wrong within no time.
Walking from hostel room to room, lecture hall to lecture hall, campus to campus, armed with nothing but his vision for a better students union, Wakoli fast endeared himself to the students as ‘The Comrades Chairman.’ A leader the students could identity with.
One surviving on the Klub 36 sourced 10 bob sukuma wiki, two tomatoes and an onion as the accompaniment for his ugali, just like the rest of us.
Word about Wakoli’s candidature spread like bush fire.
Like the Githeri Man of the 2017 general elections, Wakoli’s seemingly disadvantaged position gave him enormous traction.
And when I finally met and interacted with him in person at the Students Centre, Main Campus, I also started getting inspired by his zeal.
Here is a chairman-to-be, who was well conversant with the four years of starvation that is a regular JAB student’s stint at the University of Nairobi Main Campus.
By January 2017, Wakoli was the candidate to beat.
But that state of affairs would not last for long.
As the elections drew closer, out of the blues, flamboyant Prof. of Kenyan Campus Politics, Paul Ongili, popularly known as Babu Owino declared his candidature with a bang!
A former chairman, Babu was trying to make a come back to students politics after suffering a devastating loss in his Westlands Parliamentary bid during the 2013 general elections where he received a severe thrashing from Timothy Wanyonyi.
The day, Babu declared his candidature is the day Wakoli’s promising bid instantly went up in smoke.
With his flashy campaign of expensive cars, ruthless propaganda and handouts from seemingly bottomless pockets, Babu threw the economically struggling Wakoli into political oblivion in just a matter of days.
Wakoli’s supporters, in their numbers, instantly shifted their loyalty to Babu’s camp leaving the man from Luhyaland a political orphan.
To cut the long story short, by the time comrades went to the ballot, Wakoli’s candidature had faded away faster than it had appeared.
Just like she has always done throughout post independence Kenya’s electoral processes, Wanjiku overwhelmingly voted for Babu Owino.
And that is the real Wanjiku for you.
I know many losers of the just concluded 8/8/2017 election can identify with this story.
Babu Owino is now the Embakasi East MP elect.
I am still trying to trace my friend Wakoli Kunani to know what he is up to nowadays.