University Student Politics Need to Be Reformed [opinion]

This week, Kenya is privileged to be hosting one of the most revered leaders in the world. US President Barack Obama will be co-hosting the global entrepreneurship summit. Coincidentally, the US President will be the first sitting US President to visit Kenya since Theodore Roosevelt, when Kenya was still a colony of the British.

However, we have not examined what is it that the United States does so perfectly well that it is able to cultivate one strong leader after another. Of course, not all US leaders have been likeable, but one thing is clear, they have all been effective in ensuring that the US remains the most powerful nation on earth.

If we are to develop a system of leadership that always ensures that great leaders are produced, we must start with nurturing leadership from the primary school all the way to the university. How do we select school prefects? How do we select the university student leaders?

If we adopt democratic systems to develop strong leaders right from the learning institutions, then we shall fill our institutions with the best and brightest leaders. We shall ensure that every cadre of social, economic and political spheres is filled with the most capable leaders.

Picture for a moment how university elections in Kenya are conducted? Isn’t it just marred by chaos and instability, where one faction plays dirty tricks on the other? It used to be that student leaders of the 70s and 80s were men and women of ideas. They espoused virtues such as integrity, and when they talked, the whole country listened. They were readers and intellectuals, and they debated the best ideas that could move their university and their country forward.

University student politics must be fixed, and act as a catalyst for the nurturing and development of future leaders. It is at the university when we are the most vibrant and energetic, when our minds are most impressionable. It is at the university when we have the energy of the youth, and similarly, it is at university where we must seek to tap into the leadership talents of the youth, which will in turn develop a great Kenya.