• April 23, 2024
  • Last Update April 23, 2024 10:40 PM
  • Nairobi

Politicians who were once university students’ leaders

Politicians who were once university students’ leaders

By Patricia Molyne Mataga

The current crop of political leaders in the country has a mix of backgrounds.

We have those who ventured into politics by chance – after the death of their family members who were in leadership – while others picked from where their parents left from.

But we also have those who mastered the political art from their university days. University politics has some resemblance with the Kenyan political environment, no wonder a good number of the leaders that were once students’ leaders are also doing well politically.

Here is a look at some of the popular politicians who served as students’ leaders.

James Orengo

Currently, the Senator of Siaya County, James Orengo is one of the veteran politicians who begun practicing leadership at the university level.

Orengo, who has also served as Ugenya Member of Parliament and Siaya Senator, was the Students Organization of Nairobi University (SONU) chairperson between 1972 and 1973.

Irungu Kang’ata

The Murang’a Governor is also a former SONU leader. He served as the Vice Chair of Kenya Law Student Society and Vice Chairman of SONU in 1999.

During his reign, the UDA politician was at some point, suspended from the university because of participating in a strike. 

Gladys Wanga

Wanga is the current Homa Bay County boss. She served as Kenyatta University student’s union Secretary General.

She was previously the Homa Bay County Woman MP.

Prof Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o

Nyong’o, currently serving as the Kisumu Governor was a student leader during his time at the Makerere University in Uganda.

Kipchumba Murkomen

The Roads, Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary also has his leadership skills traced back to campus.

Murkomen, formerly the Elgeyo Marakwet Senator was elected as the chair of the Kenya Law School Students Society at the University of Nairobi when he was studying law.

Hassan Omar

Hassan Omar started activism and politics while at Moi University where he was a student leader.

He plunged into prominence when he led a protest against the naming of the Uasin Gishu-based university after the then President, the late Daniel Moi.

For his role in the protest, Hassan Omar was expelled from the university and banned from joining any other university.

It was only after the exit of Moi that he went back to university in 2002.

Hassan Omar is currently the East African Legislative Assembly MP. He has also served as the Mombasa Senator. In 2022, he unsuccessfully vied for the Mombasa gubernatorial seat.

Kabando wa Kabando

The former Mukurweini MP was elected Sonu chair in 1992.

Babu Owino

The Embakasi East MP was the longest-serving student leader. He was elected Sonu chair in 2011, a position he held until he was elected to Parliament in 2017.

Ababu Namwamba

The former Budalangi who is the current Sports Cabinet Secretary was a student leader at the University of Nairobi representing Parklands campus.

He also served as the University of Nairobi’s Head of the Council of Students’ Union 1996-1997.

Other politicians who were also student leaders at the university include former Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto, Canadian-based barrister Miguna Miguna and Public Service Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria.

Who else have we forgotten on the list?

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