Student leadership has gone rogue, according to my old man, Grandpa Richard. To him, the current leadership style portrayed by student leaders is simply a cancer that has metastasised from mainstream political leaders and needs to be excised urgently.

Illustration: Joseph Ngari, Daily Nation

Illustration: Joseph Ngari, Daily Nation

“During my time, student leaders demonstrated visionary headship that inspired not only students, but the country as a whole. Our leaders deeply cared about the country; they would not let it go to the dogs without a fight,” narrates the greybeard, who was a student-body president in his heyday.

What has changed about comrade leadership as we transitioned from the analogue to the digital age? The answer to that still escapes me.

What does it take to be a student leader in today’s universities? Thankfully, that’s a question I can pontificate around and try to answer.

Other than the obvious minimum qualifications possessed by every student — extensive experience in deciphering tattoo meanings, ability to extemporaneously list 15 flavours of marijuana and an outrageous shortage of respect for authority — a student leader needs to acquire a few extra qualities.

The good book says bad company ruins good morals, so you need to watch the people you associate with. Moralists like this writer should be avoided like a plague.


Instead, surround yourself with the right clique of goons, suspected rapists, and part-time muggers. Their menacing presence around you will command respect from fellow comrades. They will come in handy during every campus election, as they will terrorise your opponents into stepping down and intimidate the entire campus to vote for you.

This troop of ruffians comes cheap, as you only need to placate them with a bottle of illicit brew every once in a while. Feel free to loan them to mainstream politicians, who could use the noisy drunks to brew discord somewhere.

As a student leader, you will find that threats are an invaluable asset. Always be on standby to threaten the government and the school administration whenever grass sprouts. Threaten to pee on trees and strip naked if it gets US President Barack Obama to visit your school. Never mind if your deeds don’t match your words.

Bloviating and pomposity will get you a lot of comrade credits. Even when it is obvious to everyone with a high school education that you write your speeches with a pen in one hand and a dictionary in the other, go ahead and read that aggravating speech anyway.

Very few of your acolytes can survive the flood from the Oxford Advanced Learners’ Dictionary, but the gobbledygook is enough to discombobulate and bamboozle them into composing songs on how intelligent you are. See what I did here?

babu15514Addressing comrades’ issues and working on the promises in your manifesto? That never got anyone anywhere. Flamboyance is the name of the game. Splashing Sh14 million on a birthday party will delight your comrades more and ensure they remain  putty in your hands.

Follow the above tips religiously and you are sure to secure a place in the walls of the hall of fame as the greatest student leader that ever lived.

Lukorito Jones

When I'm not busy chasing around stories for my quasi-journalism career, you'll find me dabbling in fiction and perfecting my deer-dancing and goat-screaming skills.

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