Politics they say is not for the faint hearted and is even more challenging when you are an aspiring female student leader, but for Jane Njau, a 3rd year student at Maseno University, failure was not an option. The Pharmaceutical Sciences degree student had to overcome all challenges, pool all the resources she had to ensure victory in the elections.
When did you develop an interest in politics?
I was bitten by the political bug approximately 5 years ago when I was still in high school, form 2 to be precise. I have always wanted to cause positive change in the lives of people through an honest and people centered way of governance.
What position do you hold in the student organization?
Currently I’m the Director Gender Affairs and Cultural Heritage in the Student Organization Maseno University (SOMU). In my 2nd year in the university I was elected to the congress. I believe my current position is a promotion by the student fraternity due to my past clean record.
Why do you think students chose you over your competitors?
Campus politics is somewhat different from the normal national politics. Students can be so unforgiving especially if your agenda and aspirations do not match with their expectations. Having served previously as a member of the congress, I think Maseno University students saw that I’m able to deliver on what I promise. To add on, my agenda, proven competence and self determination also played a major role in my victory.
Do politicians fund student elections?
I have not heard of a single case in Maseno University. It might be the case in other universities especially University of Nairobi. Most of my campaign money was from my parents. Apart from the finances, they really motivated and encouraged me.
What challenges did you face as a female candidate during the campaigns?
The two main challenges were financial and male chauvinism. I believe most women undergo the same challenges during campaigns. It gets even worse when you are an aspiring female student but here I am, I made it. Any woman out there can also do the same if she keeps her focus on the target.
Was tribalism a factor in the SOMU elections?
Not at all. Tribalism is a gone case in Maseno University. Majority of my supporters were not from my tribe. I really appreciate the maturity shown by the students. Some people tried flashing the tribal card but were never successful.
Has your new role affected your studies?
No. Infact it has helped me plan my time better. I spend most of my evenings in the library and may attend to student matters during the day when I don’t have classes to attend.
Politics and books can be a bit stressing at times. What do you do to unwind?
I love dancing, reading novels and swimming. I also do travel to new places to cool off the pressure. Now that I’m not in a relationship, it’s much easier to engage in such activities.
What next after being a student leader?
Once you get into politics, your life will start revolving around it. In future I would love to be a powerful legislative woman. Either an MCA, MP or Woman Rep. If I made it against all odds in SOMU, surely I can do the same anywhere. I know my dreams are valid.
What would be your advice to someone wishing to join student politics?
Life in varsity political panorama needs patience, honesty and determination. It’s about passion and service delivery. If you cannot deliver to students, I assure you life will be tough for you all through.