Tension is high at the University of Nairobi after the university management held the swearing in of the students’ union leadership prior to the elections.
Elections for the University of Nairobi Students Association (UNSA), initially known as SONU, had been scheduled to take place on Thursday, April 19.
However, on Sunday morning at around 8am, Anthony Manyara, one of the five candidates for the UNSA chairmanship was sworn in to the position, previously held by now Embakasi MP Babu Owino.
Security officers were deployed within the campus to contain protests that erupted soon after the new chairman and his team of officials had taken the oath.
The university management is said to have struck out all other candidates eyeing the UNSA chairmanship on grounds of disciplinary and academic issues, a position disputed by the beleaguered aspirants.
Aspirants who were locked out included Jamal Birkan, Daphine Githuku, Job Omondi and Felix Apiyo Opiyo.
Mr. Manyara, the newly-sworn in chairman, confirmed to Citizen Digital that he had been sworn in being the only candidate in the race.
Jamal Birkan and Felix Opiyo read mischief in the move by the institution to hold the swearing in on a Sunday and in the absence of other students.
“They stage-managed accusations claiming that I forged documents and that my team is full of thugs. How can only one person qualify to lead about 89,000 students,” posed Opiyo when contacted by Citizen Digital.
Opiyo moved to court last week seeking orders to stop the election until their push to be allowed on the ballot is heard and determined.
Court documents seen by Citizen Digital show that the University and the electoral commission for students association were summoned to appear for an inter-parties hearing on the matter on Monday.
“It is hereby ordered that the ex-parte applicants serve the respondents with the Chamber summons by close of business April 13, 2018 together with hearing notice for inter-parties hearing on April 19, 2018 before Justice John Mativo,” part of the court summons read.
The university has, however, proceeded to conduct the swearing in ceremony before the swearing in of the elections.
Meanwhile, elections for the student representatives in various UoN campuses were conducted on Friday, April 13 with their swearing in happening on Saturday, April 14.
According to the UNSA Constitution 2017, the campus representatives (delegates) are the ones mandated to elect the Executive leaders who include the union chairman.
One of the delegates, who spoke to us on condition of anonymity, disclosed that the new Chairman was the management’s favoured candidate.
While the students union constitution provides that the UNSA leadership should be elected within 30 days after the election of the delegates, one of the campus representatives questioned why the management had to conduct the executive’s oathing so fast.