There are moments so iconic, that writing about them feels like a robbery of their gallant glory. That is the beauty of history makers. They remained greatly oblivious that their decisions that were so seemingly fleeting would ripple onto momentous events. That they’d be legends in champoining movements that would live on in service of humanity for eons on. That is the fate of these incredible men and women of the Kenya Model United Nations. Truly, “people are trapped in history and history is trapped in them,” James Baldwin.
KenyaMUN in a timeline
Mr. Ronald Osumba, a Moi University student majoring in Business Management, founded the Kenya Model United Nations in 2001. (KenyaMUN). From 2001 to 2003, Mr. Osumba served as the organization’s first Secretary General. His tenure is remembered for producing the first conference held at the United Nations headquarters in Gigiri, Nairobi, in 2002, which paved the way for annual conferences in the same location, every February. Mr. Osumba is the only Secretary General who has served in that capacity for more than a year.
After Mr. Ronald, the outturn on the rise to that seat took a very nationalistic and merit-based approach. Following Mr. Osumba, Mr. Gicheo Bosco of Moi University ascended to power in 2003 to lead the 2003-2004 session. Mr. Gicheo was primarily concerned with the upkeep and expansion of KenyaMUN. His tenure is remembered for having begun to instill a KenyaMUN culture and for having resulted in an increase in KenyaMUN membership from previous years.
Soon after, Ms. Nyakario Njuguna, a Daystar University student in 2004-2005, broke the record for being the first female student to hold the highest office in KenyaMUN. Ms. Njuguna, as Secretary General in the third session, ensured that KenyaMUN’s growth kept up with the culture established by Mr. Bosco and his team. She also stood out as a role model and pacesetter for the young female students who were members of KenyaMUN at the time. Her session fully prepared her for the 4th Session.
The 2005-2006 session saw the announcement of a Deputy Secretary General to the position. Mr. Allan Rutambo, who was a student at The University of Nairobi at the time and had previously served as Ms. Nyakario’s deputy, took on the prestigious role of spearheading the 4th session.Mr. Allan is remembered for frequently encouraging people to aim for the positions for which they are deputized. Kenyatta University celebrated in 2006. It was their first time.
Mr. Charles Kyalo Munyau of the Kenyatta University chapter was appointed as the 5th session’s Secretary General. This was the first at Kenyatta University, and Mr. Munyau upheld the University’s pride by serving as KenyaMUN’s Secretary General from 2006 to 2007.
Mr. Brian Makokha, who took over from Mr. Charles, skillfully maintained the KenyaMUN culture during his tenure, the 6th session, after which he handed over power to the organization’s second female Secretary General.
So three years had passed. Hadn’t the ladies in the house waited far too long? When Ms. Brenda Malowa rose to power in 2008, she broke the dominance. KenyaMUN’s secretariat was a queen’s throne for the second time since its inception. KenyaMUN had established its roots and gained dominance by this point. Information about this youth-led, student-run organization spread like wildfire through university corridors, and Ms. Brenda and her team worked around the clock to increase membership.
However, there was an interesting turn of events in the secretariat in 2009. Mr. Paul Gathara, who had taken over from Ms. Malowa, became overburdened with duties while on the trail. He had barely been in power for a year when he handed it over to Ms. Mwambingu. Ms. Ivy Mwambingu oversaw the remainder of the year, working tirelessly to ensure that KenyaMUN expanded across the country.
Ms. Ivy handed over the reins to Mr. Billy Kanyi, who was appointed on merit to lead the 2010-2011 session. He made certain that the organization brought together students interested in diplomacy, debate, and mooting. Mr. Kanyi also ensured that students had the opportunity to learn other skills such as public speaking, research, and academic writing. KenyaMUN had a pivotal year in 2011. It was the organization’s tenth anniversary. Mr. Abdalla Salm graced this session a decade later, after an instrumental ten years.During his tenure from 2011 to 2012, Salim worked to establish a KenyaMUN presence in several universities across the country.
Ms. Nasra Nandha took over the following year, fiercely and determinedly following in Mr. Salim’s footsteps to ensure that the 2012-2013 session recorded a larger following from different schools all over the country than where Mr. Salim had left. Ms. Nasra ensured that the culture of debates and conferences was preserved during her tenure. She will also be remembered for her contributions to the growth and enrollment of KenyaMUN members.
A repeat of the 2005-2006 session occurred in the 2013-2014 session, with a deputy taking over power once more. Mr. Githua Martin, who had served as a deputy in the previous session, was well acquainted with the secretariat roles; under his supervision, the 12th KenyaMUN session ran smoothly.
It’s fascinating to see how the KenyaMUN top office has changed since its inception, because another first occurred in the 13th session (2014-2015). For the first time, a bureau member rose to power. Ms. Edna Fayande, the former Finance Director, became Mr. Martin Githua’s successor and a major trailblazer for bureau members aspiring to the Secretary General’s office.
Ms. Leila Shukri, later dubbed “delegates’ favorite,” rose through the ranks in 2015. This session marked the beginning of KenyaMUN delegates’ sleek dresscode. Ms. Leila ensured that delegates understood the rules of procedure, followed the dress and conduct code, used official languages for debates, and, in her own unique style, kept delegates’ interests in mind during the Warm-Up Challenge and Mock Debates.
For the third year in a row, female students were in charge of the top office. This was a new positive wave for KenyaMUN’s female members. The office provided them with opportunities to develop as people, leaders, and women in positions of power. On the one hand, it was difficult to play role models, and on the other, it was difficult to overcome the obstacles that came with women’s leadership (mostly at the time). That is exactly what the office did for Ms. Anita Vitisia between 2016 and 2017. She sees her tenure as an opportunity for growth, and Ms. Anita ensured that KenyaMUN grew to a greater extent during her tenure. She made it possible for KenyaMUN to accommodate a wide range of student interests.
Mr. Richard Muraya then regained the boychild glory in 2018. Mr. Richard is said to have had a knack for keeping the delegates upbeat. He diligently led the 2017-2018 session before handing over to yet another incredible lady!
Karen was awarded KenyaMUN’s most prestigious position in 2018! It landed on a change-maker, a mother at heart and a stern law student at the time. The 2018-2019 session is crucial because it establishes the foundation for the most recent KenyaMUN members. But, perhaps more importantly, it marked the beginning of holding out-of-town mock debates in a different setting.Ms. Grace Maina’s tenure will be remembered for her motivation of out-of-town debates for Nairobi chapters, which brought together students from various campuses across the country. The 2019-2020 saw Mr. Alpha Gitonga, Under Secretary General of The University of Nairobi, Main Campus, take the mantle and steer the session so successfully and passionately, until the last held conference at the UN offices in Gigiri in February 2020.
Mr. Jeff Kiprop took over, bearing all the stress caused by the Corona Virus. He managed to stay positive throughout the session and overcome all of the challenges brought on by the Coronavirus Pandemic. Given that we were living in unprecedented times, Mr. Jeff did his absolute best, and guiding the organization that year was regarded as an accomplishment.
Mr. Martin Kioko succeeded Mr. Jeff in the year 2021. He paved the way for the organization at a time when the world was returning to normalcy. His secretariat and he managed to get through the session with the theme “Limitless in the Face of Adversity” as their light at the end of the tunnel. We were unable to return to the UN offices in Gigiri that year, but that did not prevent KenyaMUN and its members from holding the annual conference. A tri-venue conference is a first of its kind. The conference was a success and took place at three member universities.
Mr. Martin handed the SG baton to his deputy, this not being the first time we were witnessing this. Mr. Samuel Mue, having served as Deputy Secretary General, is now the current Secretary General for the 22nd session.
In conclusion, since the exit of Mr. Ronald Osumba 22 years ago, the highest office in KenyaMUN has gone through shifts numerously, falling in each campus one at a time, or repeatedly in one, not based on gender, tribe or colour, and not limited to anyone, but based on merit. You might be next