Today we’re going to take a walk down the memory lane of SONU politics by taking a sneak peek to the top 10 men who re-defined the history of SONU. Truth be told, there are many other people who contributed to what SONU is today. But, of course only a handful of are immortalized to-date.
James Orengo was SONU president in 1973 at a time when the union was still young and yet to be recognized as a central union for student’s interests. He however soldiered on and steered the budding Union to a strong start. Orengo was then an under-graduate student pursuing Law. He left the school in 1974 having sown a seed that would later give birth to an influential body we know as the mighty SONU today.
The humble yet calculative Wanyiri Kihoro was at the helm of SONU in 1976. He literary took over from where James Orengo had left and carried on with the good work of building SONU. At the same time he was pursuing BA (Land Economics). Wanyiri was the man who led students to the streets after the infamous assassination of JM Kariuki. He was no stranger to disagreements with Jomo Kenyatta’s government, a feat that saw him detained on several occasions.
Titus Adungosi or simply Tito was the first chairman of the formally recognized SONU in 1982. Known for his great oratory skills, Mr. Titus would gather massive crowds whenever he took to the stage to champion for students’ rights. Unfortunately, he was detained by former president Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi only to die due to harsh treatment and torture in Kenyan cells. Titus remains an icon in many UON students’ hearts and that’s why we rank him among the top 10 men who re-defined the history of SONUtoday.
Mwandawiro Mghanga was a no nonsense chairman who took over the leadership of SONU at a time when the ruling government was still recovering from an earlier coup threat. He however did not rule for long as he was expelled from school through the intervention of Moi’s accomplices who thought he was a radical student. Mghanga was the first chairman (and the only one so far) to ever inspect a guard of honor mounted by his loyal students at the Chancellor’s court. This was seen (by many) as an act of rebellion against Moi’s divide and rule tactics.
Wafula Buke took charge during the clamor for Multi-partism. Moi’s iron fist rule was by then at its peak. Secret service agents were deployed everywhere in the school – from hostels, Mace, library to classes. Lecturers were easily arrested and detained for speaking against Moi during lectures in Taifa Hall and MPH. Buke did not escape Moi’s wrath. He was arrested and detained for suspicion that he was spying for the Libyan government. SONU was later banned only to be re-instated in 1998.
KARL MARX (Christoper Owiro)
Karl Marx or Christopher Owiro was a fiery student leader who apparently drafted the political formula that eventually led to the death of KANU rule. A BSC (Mathematics and Chemistry) student, Karl Marx did not escape the suspension guillotine. He was suspended by the University senate in 2000 for leading students to the streets. He came back later, as an ordinary student, but his influence kept growing exponentially until he graduated and left school. Owiro passed on early this year after collapsing at his rural home in Nyanza.
Without doubt GPO OULU is a man who took SONU to great great heights in his capacity as Secretary General. Today, there are more than 3 online blogs built in his memory by his classmates who saw him as a hero who only died too soon. His death (assassination) was widely seen as a plot to silent a man who had a lot of evidence of police engaging in extra-judicial killings. Oulu was an Education student. To-date, his untimely death raises more questions than answers.
Ngaruya KJ was elected SONU chairman in 2004. The Political Science and Literature student from Nyandarua County was very keen to fight for students’ rights. He was very charismatic and easily managed to mobilize students to informal meetings commonly known as Kamukunji’s. His speeches would in several occasions sway students’ emotions and this landed him in the (then) school administration’s bad books. He led a protest against a 500% increase in Module II school fees and this, unfortunately earned him 1000 academic days in the cold. He joined University of Pretoria where he studied law and later came back to finish his JAB course. He vied again in 2009 but lost amidst claims of rigging. The consequences of this election led to closure of UoN in 2009/2010.
David Osiany was a tall, dark, charming and extremely eloquent leader. The St. Mary’s Yala alumni made history by being the first SONU chairman to be elected at second year, all thanks to his great oratory skills and talent. Osiany however committed political suicide when he chose to run for a second term against a force that was dubbed DEMAO (Democratic Movement Against Osiany). Events of this election led to the suspension of SONU. A caretaker committee took over.
Babu Owino made history for being the first Module II (Parallel) student to be elected SONU chairman. This followed intensive lobbying with the administration which reluctantly agreed to re-instate SONU. Babu was (and still is) well-endowed financially and managed to pull one of the biggest campaigns ever seen in the history of this union. He won with a landslide. Mr. Owino later graduated with a first class honors in Bsc. Actuarial Science. He re-joined UON in 2013 for a degree in law and is rumored to be eyeing his previous post during the 2014/2015 elections.
Babu Owino went back to students politics and won the 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 SONU Chairmanship. (Update) In 2017 Babu quit SONU chairmanship after winning Embakasi East MP ODM nomination ticket.