Yesterday witnessed a colourful graduation at Riara University. There was purple everywhere, the colour of royalty. But it would also appear that purple is the colour of pretentiousness.
In the event that was televised live, law student/poet Mumbi Macharia performed a spoken word poem to thunderous applause from several dons in gowns and feathered hats. Among the dignitaries present was the fiery (if a tad overbearing) education PS Mr. Fred Matiang’i.
Mumbi Macharia’s stated in one line of her poem that “Colonization interrupted African History“. Interestingly, a renown Jamaican poet called Mutabaruka is famous for the lines “Slavery is not African history, it interrupted African history.” Those two lines sound eerily familiar. In academic parlance we would call that plagiarism. If you borrow someone’s idea in part or in whole, you need to acknowledge it.
Mumbi Macharia extolled her audience to drop western names in favour of African names. Interestingly, she dons synthetic hair. And even more interesting she doesn’t pronounce Mumbi properly? The “u” is supposed to be pronounced as an “o”.
Riara University’s law school has been at the center of controversy and in most circles is perceived as a strictly commercial venture than a serious institution of learning. In 2015 Justice Odunga adversely mentioned Riara University in a judgment where it emerged that the Kenya School of Law (KSL) was in cahoots with Riara University in barring some students with degrees from foreign jurisdictions from training at KSL unless they underwent bridging ONLY at Riara University.
The move by KSL, CLE and Riara was viewed as discriminatory. See Nabulime Miriam & others v Council of Legal Education & 5 others ( http://kenyalaw.org/caselaw/cases/view/121718/%5B2016%5D eKLR)