The intriguing one-hour session with Mr. Ooko comes to rest today with him telling us about his achievements and what we need to expect from him as the SUEU Sec-Gen.
Denshi: You have been a Class Rep and a Class Reps’ Coordinator. What were some of your achievements?
Victor: Sociology is a very large class and I believe that the key mandate of a Class Rep is communication. This is because he is the link between the lecturer and the students. I believe that as a Class Rep, I was efficient.
As a Class Reps’ Coordinator, the role was even much more. It was during my tenure that they introduced the ONLINE APPLICATION OF SCHOOL IDs which they called “Smart Card” . It was challenging. It fell under my mandate and I believe it was an achievement which I was able to realize and it’s still being used upto date. It has picked up quite well. I also have an ID which was processed through the same way.
Denshi: The online application of IDs has been termed ‘expensive’ and ‘discriminative’.
Victor: As students, at least we need to be optimistic. This is the technology that you are complaining as far as room booking is concerned. At least, when it’s being introduced at this stage, we should not oppose it.
Expensive? We have the resource centres. I believe it’s free of charge. We have staff who are there and they help to ensure that students apply for IDs with ease. I was there personally and I helped quite a number of students to apply. It’s in the attitude that the negativities arise.
Denshi: SUEU has been seen as a ‘toothless dog’ by students. How will you change that as the Students’ lawyer?
Victor: ‘SUEU is a toothless dog …a bulldog’. (Laughs). I have heard of that saying several times. First of all, we are not a registered union and that’s one of the challenges. But I believe that the main problem lies with the students themselves. Are they really supporting this union they call ‘tooothless dog’? What I see is criticism. If there are any positivity among students, then the negativity outweighs them.
Denshi: You mean the problem is the students?
Victor: The students mainly focus on the negatives. So this trend is given to us by the students. They are the people that we represent. I cannot go and say that I represent the students while when they are questioned, they say that ‘we never send anybody’. If the students disown us, then SUEU will remain toothless.
Denshi: How about registration?
Victor: Registration is a problem to many universities. I think it’s only SONU that has been registered. But because we have the Chair, Vice-chair, and the Sec-Gen as automatic members of the Kenya Universities Student Organization (KUSO), then I believe we can try and make that (registration of the unions) the key objective to try and ensure that our unions are registered.
Denshi:How do you measure your success?
Victor: There is something I have not mentioned. When I joined campus last year in my first semester, I vied for the Congressman’s Post in Tatton – Argentina. In the course of my campaigning, I realised that students would listen to me as far as I had not mentioned my year of study. But immediately I mentioned that, they would change. They would start asking: “You mean you are a first year? ” That is the factor that dealt me a blow and gave me 62 votes. Despite that, I came fourth with the winner gunning 208 votes. It was a challenge to me and I decided that I was not going to go down with that. When I now compare that with what I have achieved, I may say that I am on a positive progress.
Denshi: What’s in the offing from you?
Victor: In the SUEU constitution, forums between student leaders and the students are provided for but they are not usually there because the SUEU usually fear angaging students because of the reception they have for the students.
For instance, I asked Leokoe (Immediate former vice chair) why they don’t have forums with the students, he asked me “are you sure that you can talk to the students?” Gabriel used to have such forums with Class Reps and I intend to continue and even include the whole students population. I am talking to the guy who organized the Debate at the Student Center so that he organizes another one.
Denshi: Lastly, what’s your take on the fee increment?
Victor: Fee increment is a sensitive issue but the way it has been branded, it appears as a one man show. The former chairman really messed us up. Instead of attending the Senate meeting in which the matter of fee increment was being discussed, he decided to attend freshers’ orientation. He had the students’ trust and he messed it up. As a leader, it’s important to read the mood of the people and have your priorities right.
With that, we conclude the Three-Part interview with this great man who looks promising.
Watch out for the next leader under watch …who will it be?