- John Osiko made headlines when he used donkeys as a means of transport during his campaigns
- Student leadership is lucrative and usually an entry point to national leadership
Crazy stunts and strange antics are the norm during political campaigns. They are often used by political aspirants to draw attention and pull crowds to their side.
University student leadership campaigns are no exception.
Recently, Moi University students were treated to a spectacle when one of the aspiring student leaders arrived riding on donkeys with his crowd of supporters to launch his manifesto.
The student leader’s name was John Osiko, a third-year student aspiring for a delegate position.
His unconventional mode of transport caused a stir when he arrived for the ‘kamukunji’ – a platform where aspiring student leaders meet students to share their manifesto and ask for votes.
Asked why he arrived on a donkey instead of a fuel guzzler like his opponents, Osiko said that he opted to copy the example of Jesus Christ, who arrived for the Passover feast riding on the beast of burden.
He further explained that he could not afford to fuel the guzzlers, considering the skyrocketing prices of fuel at the moment.
“My opponents already hired cars and I did not have money to hire the same cars, so my campaign team advised me to go for a donkey. It was a strategy and also, I wanted to cut costs. I didn’t have to hire the donkeys, I just requested them from a villager,” he told Citizen Digital.
However, Osiko is not the first political candidate in Kenya to ride on a donkey while seeking votes.
In 2022, George Nene, a 22-year-old who was in his final year of study at Elementaita University, defied all odds when he decided to vie for the Elementaita Ward MCA seat with donkeys as his campaign mode of transport.
Being from a humble background, he could not afford high-end campaign vehicles like his more seasoned and affluent opponents who were also eying the seat.
Not to be deterred by his underdog status, he used a bicycle to traverse the mucky roads of the ward seeking votes.
His bold act and vision inspired his friends so much that some decided to support his cause financially.
One of his friends gave him a donkey and a ‘mkokoteni’, which he fitted with PA systems and a generator and used on the campaign trail.
His efforts paid off when he mustered 4310 votes to oust Nakuru County Assembly’s Majority leader and UDA candidate Moses Ndung’u who had held the seat since 2017.
In the same elections, Jirongo Luyali, a young aspirant vying for the MP Seat of Hamisi Constituency in Vihiga county, took on the campaign trail with a donkey cart as his vehicle.
He was among 13 aspirants battling for the constituency’s top job.
In an interview with Tuko, the Nyang’ori Boys High School alumnus admitted that he lacked the financial muscle to afford a motorcade or fuel cars.
He also revealed that riding on a donkey cart was a campaign strategy that was aimed at endearing him to the masses, as it positioned him as the son of a poor man.
In a similar scenario, Nyamira senatorial candidate Adams Nyaribo caused a stir in 2022 when he arrived at the county’s IEBC offices to seek clearance while riding on a donkey.
He however explained that he could afford to drive to the offices but chose to emulate the humble example of Jesus Christ and ride a donkey.