Babu Owino wants university election system changed, popular vote brought back

Babu Owino wants university election system changed, popular vote brought back

Embakasi East Member of Parliament Babu Owino now wants the Universities Amendment Act (2016) changed to allow all university students elect their leaders as was done in the past.

This comes following the adoption of the new law, as signed by President Uhuru Kenyatta two years ago, which dictates that university students elect representatives from their various colleges who are then tasked with voting in the executive leaders such as Chairperson, Vice Chairperson and Secretary General.

The Universities Amendment Act (2016) also stipulates that student leaders elected to executive posts can only serve two terms after which they will be ineligible to hold any elective position in any institution of higher learning in the country.

However, appearing before National Assembly Committee on Education on Tuesday, the outspoken MP argued that this system is illegal.

According to Mr. Owino, the law was introduced to bring to an end his long reign at the helm of the now defunct Students Organization of Nairobi (SONU) and should be reverted back to the original format since he already vacated the office.

“I would like the system of elections through the Electoral College at the universities to be scrapped and the popular vote to be reintroduced. The current system is seen as an extension of the university’s administration, it is therefore crippled and cannot fight for students’ rights,” the outspoken legislator told the committee.

“The establishment of Electoral Colleges based on academic departments, schools or faculties was not anchored on any law and it has brought complexities, confusion and bias in its implementation.”

Mr. Owino also argued that the new law is unaccommodating since it provides for only 3 representatives from each constituent college in an institution yet the various public universities in the country all have varying populations; some bigger than others.

Taking to social media after his submission, the ex-SONU boss wrote: “Today I presented my submission to the Education Committee to amend the University Act to allow university students to elect leaders of their choice through the universal suffrage system.”

“The law that has been in place is obsolete,repugnant and inconsistent to the supreme law of the land (Kenyan Constitution). God bless comrades.”