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I was Sonu chairman for just nine days as a fresher


Wafula Buke

I joined the University of Nairobi to study  political science. And so, I had no time for petty things like bingeing and womanising.

I took to politics with the objective of making a contribution in changing the country. This is why I organised a demonstration against the bombing of Tripoli, Libya by Americans, in solidarity with other students across Africa in my third week in campus, when I was still a fresher.

The university was different then and there was very little freedom. Policemen were all over the place, making it difficult for  lecturers to speak their mind. In fact, I arrived at the university at a time when Prof Katama Mkangi and Prof Casper Odegi Awuondo had just been arrested. And so, academically speaking, the university was a disappointment. Some of my most memorable colleagues are Kaberere Njenga, now a medical doctor at Kenyatta National Hospital and Miguna Miguna.

My best lecturer was Prof Jesse Mugambi, who at one time was the director of Starehe Boys Centre. On matters of relationships, well, I came to the city when I was already engaged to the mother of my son in the village. This I did in the presence of my village elders. So I never had serious girlfriends in campus. I remember I once had a mzungu girlfriend who had to be interrogated by the Special Branch on suspicion of being a CIA agent.

One thing I did after winning the Sonu chairmanship was to ban all tribal organisations as well as State House trips visits by student leaders for handouts. My stand saw me become the shortest serving Sonu chairman, staying in office for only nine days, also described by some students as “nine days in Canada.” I was then arrested and taken to prison.

Wafula Buke is Director at Orange House

As told to Mwaura Samora

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