Have you ever wondered how much your soul would cost if you were to sell it out? Would you drive a hard bargain or would you let it go for a song? A hundred thousand? Two hundred? How about three? Ok, let’s make it five hundred thousand. It changes perspective when you call it half a million. Let’s face it, when a campus student is offered that kind of money, s/he will at least think about it. Some might even cut school and make a go for it on the streets- invests it somewhere for the deposit to make honey.

I have seen many a student compromise on education for money. They are mostly the student leaders. Because campus leadership basically entails getting a free room, a monthly stipend, and hiring a gang of yahoos to walk behind you with a whip while you siphon money meant for student activities, a majority of student leaders grow rich in the process.

I happen to be a student leader in the leading university in this corner of the globe. But to be honest, the position I hold does not savor the buttered side of the bread most of the time. Rarely am I entrusted with student money. So I cannot say with complete certainty that if granted one of those juicy seats, in which I decide how the cake is shared, that I will be entirely honest. It is easy to judge from outside looking in, but come on, look around you. When you get your head out of the sand, you will realize that even the best performing county today, cannot remember where they placed about 14 million shillings only. But since its has ambulances, a panoramic park and new police cars, we look the other way. That a little tip for the sweat Alphy breaks.

In campus, it is not different. Money comes in showers so long as your name is on the right seat. Most of the money is usually illicit money. Money you pinched from a bash that never was even though the administration’s records think that a mega party was thrown. Money from NGOs from whom cash was released for sex education among the youth. Such malarkey. Money from aspirants bidding for ballot papers. You will think voters are the easiest people to manipulate during an election, until you dangle a ballot paper in front of political candidates. Believe me; these sheeple will stop at nothing to win elections.

But my point is illicit money is fleeting. Nothing meaningful ever comes out of it. From a good run, a student leader can make up to almost half a million in a year. No tax by the way. Yet when such sums find their way safely into your bank account, is it worth forfeiting your education for it?

My university has had its share of such individuals who fail to graduate because they were chasing after this money. Some miss to sit exams; others defer school indefinitely, while the unlucky lot who are caught with their hands in the cookie jar are shown the door. Of this entire bunch, the ones who make me throw my head so far back in laughter are the ones who steal and then run away. They vamoose, and become sought after by the school administration, and irate campus people crying foul because they were not invited to the feast. One becomes wanted, dead or alive.
And just like that, a career is delayed, or worse, ruined. Over a couple of thousands. If only they knew just how wrong they were! Money is not the real currency in campus. Dignity is. Without that, then what do you have?

But do not be joshed, there is no poetic justice for the kawaida student here. The money is already gone. And for today, let’s escape from the staggering conceited piety of on lookers kidding themselves that they would turn out differently given the position and the circumstances.

Imagine yourself a student leader, say, a SONU Campus Representative. Will your quest for future political pastures and greed for more illegit student money be your stepping stone, or your noose?

That is the 0.5 million shilling question.

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