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Scandalous Egerton University Students’ Association (EUSA) Elections 

The quest for new leadership of the Egerton University Students’ Association has degenerated into a shambolic and shameful spectacle.

There is a general feeling that the already poorly-constituted Electoral Commission is compromised and is under coercion by the Administration, certain rogue officials from the Office of Dean of Students, some outgoing EUSA officials who have shoddy interests, and certain aspirants who want undue advantage and unfair competition.

Many PETITIONS/ APPEALS against illegally-operating Student Commissioners, electoral misconduct, the nominees list, individual aspirants especially for SGC positions and Highlights of IMPUNITY and IRREGULARITIES are as follows: EUSA Constitution’s Article 55 (c) on “Eligibility for EUSA Student Members of the Electoral Commission” indicates that “Subject to this constitution a member shall be qualified to be nominated (to be a Student Commissioner) if he/she shall;- (c) be in his/her final year of study.”

None of the Student Commissioners is a FINALIST. As the current semester (and hence the Academic Year) is yet to end and most of the Students Commissioners are of the 2018 Cohort, at the time of publishing the current Nominations List these Student Commissioners are STILL IN THIRD YEAR SECOND SEMESTER.

Egerton

It is NOT UNTIL NEXT SEMESTER (beginning on April 11) that they will be in their FINAL YEAR and only then will they be legally operating and eligible to conduct a nomination process; Article 18 (a) of EUSA Constitution states that a person is not qualified for nomination as an SGC member if the person “is an official in any other association within Egerton University.”

Shockingly, a number of serving club officials have since been cleared for various SGC posts. These include Boaz Mauti (who is Chair for the Engineering Students Association), Margaret Gathoni (who is Chair of the Ecotourism and Hospitality Association), Anastasia Nyokabi (who is Vice Chair for the Statistics students association SSABEU), Byrum Nyongesa (who is Treasurer and HoD for Red Cross Egerton Chapter), and Samuel Mbugua (who is a Christian Union official).

Article 54 (1) of the EUSA Constitution stresses on “the right of all members to vote and stand for election”. Shockingly, the entirely physical/ in-person (campus-based) elections are scheduled for April 2022 when the 2020 Cohort of the Faculty of Health Sciences will be OUT OF SESSION.

This group (of more than 400 students) is expected to report back to campus on May 16, 2022 well after campaigns and elections. This is also in violation of Article 6 (iv) on The Bill of Rights which clarifies that “Every member shall have the right to take part in all activities and enjoy all facilities of EUSA without hindrance, unless otherwise provided in the constitution.”

Article 17 (e) requires a candidate nominated for the elections to be “Registered for that particular semester of study,” and NOT THE PRECEEDING SEMESTER. This is in line with Article 59 (a) (i) which requires the Electoral Commissions to “Establish the timetable for the electoral process which should be completed by the end of the seventh week of the SECOND SEMESTER.”

Article 5 (b) on EUSA Membership defines a REGISTERED STUDENT to be “One who has paid fees and registered online during the CURRENT SEMESTER.” Further to this, it is University Policy to allow for Academic and Finance Registration within the first five (5) weeks of that particular Semester, not a previous one.

If elections are to be held in April as has been announced by the Electoral Commission (any yet this is the first month on the Semester), and considering the Semester officially begins on April 11, THERE IS A HIGH LIKELIHOOD THAT SOME CANDIDATES PRESENTED FOR ELECTIONS SHALL NOT HAVE REGISTERED AS STUDENTS and hence shall be ineligible for the said elections.

Nominating them in a PRECEEDING Semester (one that ends on April 2) amounts TO PREEMPTION AND ASSUMPTION OF THEIR REGISTRATION STATUS as at the time of elections in a SUBSEQUENT Semester (one that begins on).
It is a violation of the constitutional requirement that the process of elections (including nominations, campaigns and voting) be done in the Second Semester, which is yet to begin.
In any case, the same treatment should be given to DEFFERRED STUDENTS who are also expected to be registered upon resumption of studies and hence eligible for participation in the said elections (including by voting and vying) come next Semester.
Going by the precedence set by the immediate former Electoral Commission (2019), the nominations, which is part of the elections process, is scheduled within the first seven weeks of the Second Semester, as per Article 59 (a) (i) as read together with Article 54 (1) (a). This was previously observed as seen in a copy of the “EUSA ELECTIONS 2019 PROGRAMME OF ACTIVITIES FOR DELEGATES & STUDENTS GOVERNING COUNCIL (SGC)” document that is in the public domain.
Article 61 (b) (iii) on Elections Petitions requires the established Elections Appeals Committee to “Uphold or Reverse nomination petitions as may be deemed fit by it, and notify the Electoral Commission of its resolutions within 24 hours of working days on reception of the Appeal.”
The said appeals were, as per the directive of the Electoral Commission, presented by 4:00pm of Wednesday 23rd March, 2022 and SHOULD HAVE BEEN HEARD AND DEALT WITH by 4:00pm of Thursday 24th March, 2022. Contrary to this constitutional requirement, no hearing has been conducted as at the time of publishing this (late in the evening of Thursday 24th March), nor has there been issuance of letters acknowledging receipt of the petitions as per the requirement of Article 61 (b) (1) of the EUSA Constitution.
The blatant disregard of the provisions of the EUSA Constitution doesn’t stop at that. Ironically, Egerton University boasts a Law School and even has legal officers who abet this impunity and seemingly conspire with powers that be to influence the electoral outcome.
No schedule/timetable has until now been made public by the Electoral Commission for purposes of transparency and accountability. There is also free flow of classified information between Electoral Commissioners and certain aspirant(s), thus compromising the integrity of the process and indicating favoritism and unfair competition.
If the Administration wanted to APPOINT new officials, it should have just done that instead of masquerading to oversee a shambolic student election. Something must be done really fast if comrades are not to be taken for a ride.


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