University student leaders across the country are complaining at the rate at which students are turning them into ‘sponsors’.
They said students turn to them to solve their financial problems and other responsibilities which only sponsors can address.
Wycliffe Kipsang from Kenyatta University Student Association (KUSA) lamented over the high number of students who flock his office for financial and social support.
“Students tend to think that I am so rich to solve all their financial and social problems. They see me as their father to whom they can run to seek refuge whenever they are in problem. But this is a misconception because I do not have large sums of money to dish out,” Kipsang, a fourth-year arts student told the Campus Vibe.
Kephers Ooko, Maseno University’s student secretary general claimed that most students who approach him are the ‘exploiting’ type who ask for money to for clubbing.
“I like it when I am helping fellow comrades with genuine problems, but unfortunately, most of those who approach me for assistance are those who demand money to buy alcohol. It disturbs me a lot since my monthly salary of Sh 5,000 cannot sustain the needs that students have,” Ooko, a third-year education student said.
Derrick Olal, a student at Maseno University, confirmed that he has indeed approached a student leader for money that he used to pay fees.
“While I was in my third year, I approached our secretary general to help me with Sh25,000 which I used to pay school fees. This helped me to avoid missing the end of semester exams. He asked me not to refund the money,” Olal said.
Apart from having to deal with students seeking to borrow money from them, the leaders have to contend with lofty expectations from comrades who believe they can handle all issues affecting them at a go without failure.
“Comrades in campus expect too much. They expect to have all that they think is possible to get done according to their will. They even think that I am more influential than the vice chancellor and whatever they ask for can be receieved without delay,” Robert Too, the Maasai Mara University students’ president said.
He recalled how he was once confronted by students to answer why the university had no good pavement and a good library in campus.
“They held me responsible for the mess, forgetting that my role is to present their grievances to the management and not to plan for projects at the institution,” he said.
His sentiments were echoed by Felix Opiyo, the chairman of Students’ Organisation of Nairobi University (SONU) who said students have expectations that cannot be fulfilled even by the administration.
“Students from the University of Nairobi sometimes approach me with needs that they want handled with immediately. Some will come up with ideas that when tabled before the administration cannot be implemented. But if you fail to do as they want, they label you a traitor,” said Opiyo, a biochemistry third-year student.