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VAS

Student elections are marred by violence and should be banned

UREPORT
By WILLIAM DEKKER | April 5th 2016

To all noble countrymen who care for the future, sample these:

On April 12, 2014, twelve UON students were arrested with guns and swords during the SONU Elections heat.

On March 4, 2015, a Rongo University College Student died while another was admitted in a critical condition after fracas caused by the student elections.

A week later (On March 12, 2015), four UON students were admitted at MP Shah Hospital following SONU campaign chaos; one of them in a critical condition. He had been stabbed in the chest following a confrontation between rival groups that turned chaotic.

In July 2015, four students (Moi University) were forced out through the window of a 2nd floor hostel room, on the night before the student elections in a pre-election misunderstanding; they broke their limbs. A week before that, the University had closed down abruptly following clashes by rival groups.

Three months later, (Oct 12, 2015), Maseno University closed down after a student died during election chaos at the time. The following day, a female student is reported to have died from injuries sustained in the pandemonium.

On March 1, 2016, two Co-operative University students died and 33 others injured during the student election campaigns at the University.

The other day, close to 30 students were arrested following the SONU election protests. Students destroyed property, blocked Uhuru Highway, Statehouse road and University Way while several got injured in the ensuing chaos.

So what are the positive sides of such electoral processes? Anyone with answers? Benefits of student elections? Any hands? None? Good! Now we are on the same page!

You see, the concept of student leadership as founded in the 70s, 80s and 90s was legitimate, far different from what we have today.

Student leaders were upbeat in fighting for their rights and those of their fellow countrymen, in spite of the unsympathetic climate that prevailed.

The students were part and parcel of the national discourse. They were a public watchdog that could give the dissenting regime “insomnia and extreme paranoia.” It was a course for liberation.

The ilk of James Orengo, Wanyiri Kihoro, Tito Andugosi, Mwandawiro Mghanga, Wafula Buke, Karl Marx (Christopher Owiro) etc. were people who would proceed without phobia of subjugation or intimidation, to engage the government on unpopular moves.

But take a moment to reflect on the concept of student leadership today; starting with the process of campaigns to voting. It verily mirrors the mainstream politics. Students vote for all the wrong reasons. The students themselves only understand the power of hysteria and shallowness. Hype, vanity and the urge to get noticed rule the day.

 

Scan through the student unions all over the country today. There’s a little tint of leadership skills to show. There’s no defined course to champion even those whose rights are to be championed, are slowly questioning them.

As long as they find a figure to worship and someone who “eats” with them, the subjects will do anything as “your majesty” requires. That is why an innocent motorist passing along Uhuru Highway will be stoned simply because there’s been a 45 minutes power outage in the University. Vanity and immaturity of the highest order. Criminals reign as student activists.

I too served in the Student leadership for about a year while in campus. Therefore my sentiments are founded on the basis of a personal account. Let’s call it, “confessions of an ex-convict”. University Student elections today and the concept of student leadership are the highest forms of misplaced priority. It is a concoction of tragedy, time wastage, and an inexcusable means to deplete money and University resources, that could otherwise be diverted into proper productive use.

Here’s the thing:

Student elections being an annual thing, have turned into breeding grounds for emptiness, tribalism, insensitivity, hooliganism and chaos. Year-in-year-out tension, hostility and tribal violence is brewed within our institutions of higher learning. So how can these be leaders of tomorrow? An already besmirched generation simply mirrors what direction we’re headed to.

Once elected, student leaders are transformed into professional thieves and corrupt demigods whose restoration is far from being achieved. Let us conceive that Universities can run so smoothly without the input of a single student leader. Anyone who believes otherwise should take a moment and go through University books of accounts for any significant contribution they make to the decision making.

Student leaders do not deliver; of course, what is it there to be delivered? Poor manifesto and illogical ambitions that (sadly) are supported by the voters in the universities. Instead you’ll shed tears the moment you discover what Student Governing Council squanders for irrelevance in a one-year term.

Once elected, student ‘leaders” are transformed to the negative. You begin to pity some. They walk in (funny coloured) suits from sunrise to sunset, naively believing it is a means of exhibiting power and status. They wallow in misconstrued bravado and sense of self importance. By the time they leave campus, it is stuck in their minds that every employer should acknowledge that they were student leaders, and therefore a breed above the rest. These are the ones who tarmac for 16 years before wondering what went wrong. Yes, it is because you wasted time at the expense of fitting into the shoes of an ideal student.

So before we even think of transforming 8-4-4, let’s begin with an easy reform. I trust the consequences will be a lot more constructive; let us ban student elections and scrap off student leadership…for good!

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