After a long sabbatical leave, Wednesday Musings is back. It’s been a refreshing break that allowed me to rejuvenate myself and come back with a fresh mind to take a critical look at the various issues surrounding the Kenyan Campus fraternity with bias to sociopolitical development.
And what a better way to start than looking at the two egocentric university students’ associations that are doing rounds in the campus news circles. The Kenya University Students Association (KUSO) and the National University Students Association (NUSO) are such great names that one would think their benefits to the students are unmatched.
A small survey will inform you of two things. One, KUSO and NUSO are known to less than 10% of students in Kenyan Universities and two, the two outfits are meant for a few individuals in the student leadership who would do anything to remain relevant to their peers.
My efforts to get a hold of the constitution of any of the outfits always hits a rock and the most logic conclusion is that the two outfits are run like banana republics with no direction, goal or vision for the students.
KUSO under the stewardship of Babu Owino who has rightfully earned the “Robert Mugabe of Kenyan Campus Politics” tag has more goons than good to show for its work in defending the rights of all kenyan students irrespective of their university affiliations. On the other hand, NUSO, headed by Nathaniel Akadima of Moi University and Raphael Raggot of the Technical University of Kenya is the proverbial forgotten son who is trying so hard to catch the eye of his father a mid uncertainty of what the outcome will be.
The two organizations are led by egocentric individuals who discovered late in their adolescence that the only way to impress people is to impose yourself on them. No wonder Charles Juma, Babu Owino’s right hand man and the KUSO Secretary General is looking for every reason to cling to power at Maseno University for a second time. Maseno students should not let this abuse of their constitutional rights go unchecked.
If the two organizations are really pro-student, then the leadership need to come together and charter a working relationship that puts their interests of the students ahead of theirs. They need to at least formulate mechanisms through which they can work out their differences and work together towards defending and promoting the students welfare across Kenyan campuses.
If it’s entirely impossible to work together, then they need to stop bickering at each other day in day out and serve the students they each purport to represent. This can only happen if apart from the politicians seating on the front row during their useless press briefings, they each have a secretariat in the background.
The work of the Secretariat should include coordinating, in close cooperation with the organization officials and the Member Student Unions the functions and responsibility of the organization laid down in the organization’s constitution.
Secondly, the secretariat should be able to provide expert support and input in drafting of various documents including reports, notes, speeches, e.t.c and the work of the elected officials. This will save the member students unions the embarrassment of incoherent and pointless press briefings by the leaders.
Additionally, the Secretariat will be charged with the responsibility of communicating and disseminating efficiently the outcomes of every activity undertaken by either NUSO or KUSO, particularly those regarding policy-useful content, which contribute to the process of improving and empowering the students in the member students union.
The starting point for all this is setting up a team of students and experts in constitutional matters to draft a working constitution that will bind all member student unions. Secondly, the current student leaders need to wield their influence over national politicians of the day – especially when a general election is in the offing – to pass an Act of Parliament that compels university Senates and Councils to recognize the existence of nationwide student unions.
With the Act of Parliament, both NUSO and KUSO will have financial support from the member universities and will be able to afford offering job opportunities to students willing to serve in their secretariats. They will also have the ability and authority to compel universities whose conditions do not enhance acquisition of knowledge by the students to either improve or ship out. The students will finally have a united voice regardless of whether they are from Garissa University College or the University of Nairobi.
But until then, the egocentric theatrics played out in the public eye by these egocentric leaders will lead us nowhere but to more miseries.
Somebody needs to pass this to the leaders, will you?
Have a Mused Wednesday, Won’t you!!