Lead candidates in the University of Nairobi students body elections are battling to get hold of a group of students dubbed 'wise men' as campaigns take shape.
Contrary to the traditional approach where candidates moved from one lecture hall to another, a change of tact has been witnessed following the coming of a group of influential students who act as brokers to fellow students.
The “wise men” are current and former influential students with a social media presence that influences thousands of student followers, reports the Daily Nation.
According to UoN student politician Brian Orina, influential students who at one point held certain positions or those who are on record in defending student rights, are preferred to run campaigns for top candidates.
“You have to be as sly as a fox, brave and of fetching intellect so as to be a wise man. Your past heroics in organising successful student protests and standing to the arm-twisting tactics of the administration should also precede you,” said Orina, alias Malema, who has declared himself the 'Comrades’ President'.
However, it requires deep pockets, he says, to get hold of such students given that you have to cater for their movements besides ensuring that they are well fed to run titanic campaigns for you.
“You have to buy them food and drinks, take them out for shopping, hire and fuel their cars to use during the campaign period, pay for their air tickets and ensure that their boyfriends and girlfriends are comfortable when they are busy out there lobbying for you,” Mr Orina said.
After you fulfil all these, he says, the 'wise men' would guard the candidate's posters throughout which can cost someone around Sh3,000 per night. They are also responsible for running online campaigns.
Samuel Oyoma and Ann Mvurya are lead candidates for the chairperson position which initially used to be called SONU President. Babu Owino was the last student to be elected to the post given that last year, the administration only picked a student to lead, a move that sparked protests.