Campus politics – just like the National politics – is an art and a science that has evolved over the years and now involves more than charisma to establish your footing. A ‘Heavy duty’ Campaign Machinery, fully oiled with both man power and a heavy pocket is an essential component for any student wishing to venture into campus politics. The faint hearted have no business wasting their resources in the name of joining politics. You must be a schemer and ready for any eventuality to dream about being a Campus Politician.
Just like tea needs sugar and tea leaves, so does Campus politics need a communal backing, handy men, financial muscles and a coating of charisma. Allow me talk about the essential components of campus campaign:
- Community Backing/ Endorsement
This is the first hurdle for anyone venturing into Campus Politics. Without a majority community backing, you are as good as done. Campus voting patterns have a striking similarity with the national voting patterns. Everybody wants ‘Their own’ to be in charge. Therefore, you’ll find many aspiring campus leaders dropping out at the ‘Community Nomination’ stage.
Community based- campus Associations usually play a pivotal role for the Campus Politicians in assuring them of the community’s support. For an aspiring leader to be allowed by a chair of any Association to address their members, money change hands. If the community endorses you, then you are past the first hurdle.
The four communities that each campus politician spent sleepless nights trying to have their support are the Kikuyu, Luo, Luhya and the Kalenjin. Once one has the support of two out of the four, then they are on the right course.
2. Financial Muscles
As the Swahili saying goes “mkono mtupu haurambwi” (an empty hand cannot be licked), campus politicians have great role models in National politicians who are the experts at giving handouts to the people while on a campaign trail. While the politicians will give out money, Campus politicians will take guys to drinking joints around campus and spoil them with cheap liquor. Those who are a bit reasonable will give out food substances to students in their rooms or kitchenettes.
Ensure that you are not only giving Comrades food and alcohol. Go to church and ensure that the Chair of the Christian Union, their S.D.A and Catholic Students’ Association say “Amen” to your “praise God” with a smile. Contribute as much as possible to Church-based functions. Be opportunistic and use any chance you are given in church to sneak in and advance your mission.
You can’t therefore finance your campaign on Campus with the HELB money! No! You must be having a sugar mummy/daddy somewhere or a politician who has interest in your winning the election. If not, then your parents are the perfect grumblers around town ready to finance your campaign at campus – a campaign whose outcome may even be at the discretion of the Office of the dean of Students.
With your financial muscle in perfect condition and the endorsement of majority communities around campus, you are now ready to hit the road! You can’t reach all the students single handledly. You need to sell yourself! That brings us to the next point.
3. Campaign Posters
After getting the node from the Election Board to go ahead with the campaign as a contestant, you need to sell yourself to the rest of the students’ body. This requires posters and leaflets that carry your message to the comrades. The posters need to be artistic and your portrait should be update – both in appearance and posture. Let your theme color be friendly to the eye and allow your message reach the intended audience.
Do not borrow a suit for that purpose, but instead get yourself fitting clothes that reveal just enough flesh – especially if you are a lady. You must be ready to go against NEMA‘s directions and litter the environment with your posters and leaflets… but remember to remove them – whether you win or not.
Ensuring continual presence in the eyes of the comrades in the name of posters, leaflets and appearance in their halls of residence, cooking places and recreational facilities increase your chances of ‘appearing familiar’ on the day of the elections.
4. Handy Men and Women
After everything is now under control, you need to have them remain under control and even put more under control – forcefully, ‘propagandically’ or otherwise. That’s where the handy people comes into play. They’ll shout your name as much as you want them to. They’ll campaign for you vehemently knowing what they’ll get at the end of the day.
These guys will pin your posters all over campus. others will even pin them on their clothes and walk around campus preaching your message. Those endowed with energy and are ready to flex their muscles in your defense will be more than glad to bail you out of a tricky situation. The ladies will influence their boyfriends and campus clandes into voting for you. The men will on the other hand force all their campus girls to vote for you.
And now with every campus having free internet for the students, Online campaigns should never be underrated! Bloggers are all over Campuses, ready to market your idea as long as they get their share at the end of the day! They can start, flare up, calm down and even stop a propaganda about you or your opponents.
With the above already operational, your Charisma will be like the crowning of the campaign machinery….
“How Not To Succeed in Campus Politics” is coming soon!