The new kid on the block of private universities, Riara University held its first student government inauguration and swearing in ceremony in November 6, 2014. The chief guest was Senator Hon. Kipchumba Murkomen – Elgeyo Marakwet Senator and the biggest band in Africa, Sauti Sol under their Soma Soma Initiative, Launched in December 2012 at the Aga Khan Academy Mombasa; Sauti Sol’s Soma Soma Initiative was set up by the band to advocate for education for all youth in Kenya and Africa. The band deems education as paramount for a strong foundation for any nation’s future people and workforce and absolutely the hope for Africa untapped and potential regardless of socio-political and economic stratification. Sauti Sol’s song Soma Kijana off their sophomore album, Sol Filosofia is the title track of this project that emphasizes on its message. Sauti Sol’s mission with the Soma Soma Initiative is to inspire and mentor youth on matters pertaining education.“A Leader takes the example of Jesus washing his disciples feet and is a servant” – Senator Onesmus Kipchumba Murkomen
The Riara University community came alive with an almost palpable anticipation and excitement. The student leaders arrived in a Range Rover Vogue, a Range Rover Evoque and Mercedes Benz S-Class. This day was the culmination of a long process and the beginning of a new tradition that sets a benchmark for all campus elections nationwide and in Africa. More so it is quintessential for the model it has set for national and regional politics through the new and upcoming generation of leaders.
The process began with the preparation of a constitution; a progressive and extremely unique constitution. It involved consultations and committees from all facets of the University; a process that was led by students. This was followed by the creation if an Interim Electoral Commission which facilitated a referendum that passed the constitution with an 88% margin. After its promulgation they then had the nomination and campaign process, which was followed by an election that created the first RUSA (Riara University Student Association). Finally the new government led by their president Niven Sululu embarked on a vetting process that was undertaken by the Rules and Regulations Subcommittee of the RU-IEC (Riara University Interim Electoral Commission) to ensure the appointment of the most deserving students to the appointive seats in the RUSA government in a fair and credible manner. All this culminated in the swearing in of their progressive government.
Campus student government politics, elections and processes in the country have a reputation of being unruly and chaotic and at worst violent and churlish. A reputation that is often connected to national politics as well, at Riara University, the students have managed to create a very vibrant, inclusive and orderly process, by creating fair, inclusive and creative avenues for students to express their opinions and aspirations. They engaged through social media initiatives, student barazas, an Aspirants debate that was moderated by Willis Raburu from Citizen TV and by letting the Riara culture of nurturing innovators come alive through intensive student participation and leadership. This led to the historic day and an exciting foundation for more pace setting and student driven activities to come. Viva la Riara University! Viva la RUSA!