MPs propose overhaul of election system in Kenyan universities

Currently, university students elect their leaders through a delegate system of elections.

Embakasi East MP Babu Owino in his office

The National Assembly Committee on Education and Research has recommended radical changes in the election of student leaders in Kenyan universities.

According to the Departmental Report sent to the Senate for consideration, the committee recommended the abolishment of the current system of elections established by the University Act of 2012.

Currently, university students elect their leaders through a delegate system of elections.

The committee recommends that the Universities Act, 2012, be amended to provide for election to the student's council through election by the students' association comprised of all students as opposed to electoral colleges.

Amend Section 41 of the Universities Act, 2012 by deleting subsection (1C) which provides for the election of the members of the student council through electoral colleges, deleting subsection (1D) which provides for the election of three representatives from each electoral college and deleting subsection (1E) which provides for the election of the members of the student council by representatives of each electoral college,” the report read.

Embakasi East MP Babu Owino, who is also a former student leader at the University of Nairobi, celebrated the milestone in a post shared on social media.

"Universal suffrage is back. Elections at the universities shall be by universal suffrage, as recommended by the education committee. We are succeeding comrades,” he said.

The petition had been presented to Parliament by Amos Kamotho, a student from the Cooperative University of Kenya.

Kamotho claimed that the electoral process is not only riddled with irregularities but also prevents the election of deserving students from humble backgrounds.

The Act interfered with student leaders’ elections and the process is now riddled with corruption, interference by university management and rampant abuse of students’ rights by the university admin,” told MPs in his petition.

The committee further recommended that each University in consultation with its student's association should formulate and enact regulations to govern the conduct of elections including regulation of campaigns, election financing, offences and penalties.

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