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MMUSO’s Hotly Contested Elections Hits Climax as the 6th Student Executive Council Take Oath of Office

MMUST’s Legal Officer, Ms. Lindah Omenya administering the oath of office to the Special Interest Secretary, Ms. Loice Achieng. Looking on is MEC Chairman (far right) and (left) Mr. Michael Savai from the MMUST Legal Office.

The Masinde Muliro University Students Organization’s (MMUSO) hotly contested elections on Monday 27 February 2023 marked its climax, as the 6 Students Executive Council (SEC) for the academic year 2023/2024 took oath of office. The inaugural ceremony comes days after the completion of polls, which were conducted by the University's electoral commission under the guidance of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), from Thursday, 23 to Friday 24 February 2023. The swearing-in was presided over by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Solomon Shibairo, who was accompanied by the Deputy Vice Chancellor Planning, Research and Innovation (DVC PR&I), Prof. Charles Mutai. Representing the Deputy Vice Chancellor Academics and Student Affairs (DVC ASA), Prof. Hussein Golicha, the Director Quality Assurance- Prof. Danstone Lilechi and the Registrar Academic Affairs, Prof. Thomas Sakwa were also in attendance.  

The University's Legal Officer, Ms. Lindah Omenya administered the oath of office in the presence of the University Management, staff, and students. MMUSO officials who were sworn in comprised of seven (7) members of the Student Executive Council (SEC), eleven (11) Faculty Representatives, two (2) Campus representatives of Bungoma and Webuye campuses and eleven (11) Hall Representatives. Dr. Paul Ogenga and Mr. Oscar Waswa were the masters of ceremony of the event.

Speaking during the event, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Solomon Shibairo commended all those who participated in the elections, from the students vying for the different leadership positions to the electoral commission chaired by Prof. Kennedy Onkware.  Prof. Shibairo expressed his commitment towards working with the new leaders to ensure that the students’ voice and interests are well represented as the University strives to attain its goals.

He called upon the student leadership to diligently serve the student fraternity and embrace dialogue while articulating their issues to other stakeholders of the University including the management. Further, he advised the new leaders to be all round and serve as examples, stating that he expects them to be great performers in academics and co-curricular activities, besides being disciplined in their social lives.

“You have a mandate to serve your fellow students. As you embark on this, it is important for you to understand that you will be serving as the link between the students and the management. I encourage you to embrace dialogue and consult widely to be able to make sound decisions,” said Prof. Shibairo.

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VC, Prof. Solomon Shibairo shares a moment with the newly elected MMUSO President Mr. Benjamin Mutisya.

Prof. Charles Mutai could not hide his joy as the University inaugurated the newly elected student leadership. “I am glad to be here to witness the swearing in of our newly elected student leaders. Congratulations on your hard earned victory,” he said. Addressing the new elects, Prof. Mutai pointed out that leadership is not easy and it is an office constituted by God. “Sitting here, I am confident that you have the qualities to make great leaders. You are the future, for it all begins here,” he added.

Standing in the for the DVC ASA, the Director Quality Assurance, Prof. Danstone Lilechi congratulated and thanked the outgoing leadership for a job well done. Recalling his leadership roles back in the day, Prof. Lilechi noted that it is a privilege for any individual to get an opportunity to serve as a student leader in the University. “Thank you for the great and peaceful campaigns. You have made it! Campaigns are officially behind you and you are up to the task ahead,” he noted.  

Prof. Thomas Sakwa, the University’s Academics Registrar and the Chair, Appeals Committee asked the leaders to embrace the spirit of unity as they work together with other key stakeholders of the University. He tasked them to mobilize students to register for courses early to enable them to sit for exams. “I pledge to give you attention. Let us hold each other's hands and work together,” said Prof. Sakwa, adding that the elections were conducted in the right manner and his team is confident that the elections were free, fair and credible.

The MMUSO Electoral Commission Chair, Prof. Kennedy Onkware who was in charge of the entire elections, thanked the top management for facilitating and supporting students’ democracy.  “I congratulate the students for voting peacefully. The elections were free, fair and credible. I am happy that all arising issues were sorted amicably,” he said.

The Dean of Students, Dr. Bernadette Abwao also congratulated the incoming leadership and applauded the outgoing leadership for a job well done. “I congratulate the outgoing student leadership and thank you for your service. I believe you are leaving your positions of leadership and the University better than you found it. It may not be realized immediately but you will go on record as student leaders who maintained peace, consulted and ensured that student activities were well performed without corruption. You are wonderful people and you are going to be wonderful leaders out there,” stated Dr. Abwao.

Further, she advised the incoming leadership to put God first, respect people in authority, embrace dialogue, remain humble, ensure students graduate in time and have a spirit of discernment, urging them to be aware of individuals who would mislead them. She ended her address by quoting the famous Hill Owens, ‘Leadership lies in guiding others to success, in ensuring that anyone is performing at their best, doing the work they had pledged to do and doing it well’ and ‘Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily even if you had no title or position’ by Brian Tracy.

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Student leaders go through the swearing-in ritual.

Speaking on the security of the University, the Chief Security Officer, Dr. Julius Mabia thanked the students for prevailing peace all through the electioneering period and encouraged them to uphold the same during their tenure. He further echoed the Dean of Students’ sentiments, asking the newly sworn in leaders to embrace dialogue when advocating for student matters. Dr. Mabia was in company of the University’s external security, led by the In-charge Security Guarding the University, Chief Inspector Alphonse Masila, who congratulated the new leaders for the win.

Representing the students in the MMUSO Electoral Committee, the Chairman, Student Commissioners Mr. Loli Jared Mungóma, who is a 4th year student pursuing Bachelors in Agricultural Education and Extension, commended the students for turning out in large numbers and participating in the exercise.   

“Congratulations to the parliamentarians elect and the incoming SEC. Elections are over and is the time to diligently serve and deliver on your promises. For those who lost today, this is not the end of the road for you, there will always be a next time. Let us maintain peace, for as one, we shall rise,” said Mr. Loli.

The outgoing Students’ Chairperson, Mr. Samuel Motari also had the opportunity to address the participants including the newly elected leaders. He assured the new team of his support noting that it will not be easy. The newly elected MMUSO Chairperson, Mr. Benjamin Mutisya pledged to maintain peace in the University and assured the management of his team’s commitment to serving the students. 

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A section of the outgoing student government at the event.

“In this journey that we have begun today, I want to assure you that this is the right team to serve the students fraternity. I commit to work with the Hansard and proceedings of all the governments that have come before me. My team and I will endeavour to advocate for dialogue and democracy as a means of ensuring that we instil consensus between the students and other key stakeholders of the University,” stated Mr. Mutisya.

At the heart of students’ elections is the concept of inculcating the principles of democracy and free will. It is important for Universities to allow the student body to choose their own government through regular, free, and fair elections. MMUST has done exactly that. As for the newly elected leaders, ‘the ball is squarely in your court’. 

By: Caren Nekesa

Photos by Shiundu Masafu 

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