Democracy on show as MEC pupils pick leaders

Grade Three pupils vote during student leader polls at Moi Education Centre. [Samson Wire, Standard] 

Moi Education Centre pupils experienced what happens in an electoral process when it conducted polls to pick student leaders this week.

Celebrations rang out as the results were announced in the process described as free, fair and verifiable by the school principal, who congratulated the winners.

Ashley Korir, a Grade Eight pupil, was picked as the new president, deputised by her running mate Philemon Tireito. They led with 564 votes and will serve for one year.

However, Wayne Simwa–who came second with running mate Vallary Cherono after polling 467 votes–disputed the results and vowed to lodge a petition.

In a show of democracy, the school principal Augustine Musyoka promised to investigate and if confirmed, a cancellation of results may happen and a repeat election done.

“We wanted our boys and girls to learn that integrity, transparency, accountability and honesty in elections is a key virtue so that when they grow up, they uphold these values,” said Musyoka, adding that the electoral process is a topic they learn in classes.

“These are not leaders for tomorrow but for today... We want them to learn that they can transform the society they live in and when they graduate, they will transform the way we vote.”

The elections are a replica of the General Election, complete with Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) ballot boxes marked President, Governor and Senator. The polls were presided over by teachers, representing IEBC.

Indelible ink

Three senators were elected to represent Grade Six, Seven and Eight and Governors for every other class. There were agents with reflector jackets, and the thumbs of those who had voted were marked with indelible ink.

“The elected leaders form the Students’ Council and there is also the appointment of 10 cabinet secretaries by the President, to be in charge of Environment, Order, Library, Sports, and Dining Hall among others,” said Job Cheserem, a teacher who was also electoral commissioner representing the school. 

In the presidential race, Jayden King’ori and running mate Ayana Khaseke got 77 votes while Michelle Mwanzia and Jayden Gekara came fourth with 49 votes. 

“I did not expect this kind of result. I am really grateful to everybody who voted for me and I will do my best to deliver on my promises. I attribute my success to not making big promises that I cannot deliver,” said Korir.

Her immediate plans include improving the washrooms by ensuring there are air fresheners and installing mirrors, in addition to improving food service.

“I would like to ensure that pupils are given a chance to showcase their talents during school assemblies, unlike the present case where it is only a preserve of teachers,” said Korir.

And to Simwa, who emerged second, Korir encouraged: “Do not feel let down. It was just a competition and you may win next time.”

Total votes cast were 1,228 votes as 71 were declared spoilt. Some 36 ballots cast earlier by pupils who had travelled to represent the school at a music festival are considered diaspora votes.

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