SOME OF THESE HOSTELS ARE A SHAME

I visited Grand hostels the other day and what I saw had my thoughts running back in time. Just a few months ago Nyeri prominently featured in the headlines for very bad reasons. It seemed that the womenfolk in the county had found a new type of punching bag, their husbands. Their major complaint was that their men were only men by name and nothing else. People from other counties were torn between revering and rubbishing this female awakening. The one thing that was constant was the ridicule that the men received from all corners of the country. Apparently, some kind of weakness in men is contemptible. None more than the dishonor of being battered by your own wife to the extent of running from your ancestral home and begging on  mass media for the government to intervene. Above that, some of these men, it turned out, were actually drunkards who depended on their wives. If anyone had to intervene in such a case, the only appropriate action would have been to chop off the man’s balls because he is a disgrace to himself and the entire male gender. Being a weak man who neglects his ultimate duty as a provider for his family should be a crime. Intrinsic to this duty is the need for any man, with or without a family, to protect his dignity. Unfortunately, the law is forgiving of such wrongs.

What has this got to do with Grand hostels? Well, to put it short and nicely, Grand hostels is a health hazard waiting to turn into a disaster. Conversely, to put it grossly, I’d have to paint to you a picture of blocked toilets full of excreta and sinks that make you feel dirtier after washing than before. What is even worse is that the toilets are built like those in most bedsitters – the toilet bowl is at the far end while the space left near the door serves as a bathroom. I shudder to imagine taking a shower in a place like that. Apart from the obvious risk of contaminating any of the numerable diseases whose spread is facilitated by such conditions, don’t the people who live here dread going to the toilet, let alone showering, around such filthy conditions? There’s a guy who likes reminding me that having grown up in one of the dirtiest slums in Africa, I should be used to such things as these. Honestly, not at all. Shouldn’t buildings have caretakers or an equivalent substitute? What happened to Grand’s caretaker?

Two things strike me as really odd. One is how students can comfortably live in such a place without raising any complaints with the landlord. But maybe they have complained many a time and nothing has been done which brings us to the second oddity. How can our student organization let comrades live like that? Does DeKUTSO through its external affairs office ever take time to investigate the conditions in which students live? Forget visiting a building when it’s new and everything sparkling white, am talking like a few months down the line to see how the state of living conditions are varying – positively or negatively? Careful observation should be enough to tell apart the effects of age or wear from those of sheer neglect. Case in point here, go look at the toilets in our university and compare them to more recent installations like those in the Catholic hostels. The janitor’s and housecleaning department is one of the strong suits of our university. Despite the fact that the toilets in the school hostels are quite old, the university has toilets, washrooms and sinks to which you can confidently and proudly direct someone.

Unlike the privately owned hostels, a university requires ISO certification hence the need to maintain such levels of cleanliness. Regardless, hygiene should be as important to a private landlord as it is to an institution like Kimathi. No one should expose their tenants to unhygienic living conditions; I think the same thing is stated somewhere in the Rent Control Act or some such other act which outlines both a landlord’s and tenant’s obligations. To cut a long story short, DeKUTSO should intervene whenever it can to make sure comrades are living in favourable conditions. Otherwise I fail to see the purpose of the Community and External Affairs plus the Catering and Accommodation offices within our student organization’s leadership structure. But I am not holding DeKUTSO accountable for the mess in Grand and other hostels, some of which might actually be worse off. This is because the students who live in such hostels have a responsibility, they owe it to themselves, to report to DeKUTSO when unwanted things like these happen in their hostels. Truth be told, the student organization has neither the time nor the resources to visit every hostel inspecting if it meets basic living standards. They are after all students just like you, and their annual financial budget is almost always strained to say the least.

The next time you visit someone and find filthy sinks, toilets, bathrooms, etc., the question to ask them is why they do not want to protect their dignity. Why debase yourself by agreeing to live in conditions only fit for a certain type animal? Please, let’s quit allowing ourselves to be taken advantage of by these landlords. To be a gentleman you and where you live have to be at least hygienic, being well-groomed too gets you extra points. Don’t allow a landlord to unscrupulously take away this coveted title. Why is he cutting costs by exposing you to dirt and filth yet you pay the full, agreed upon rent every month? I have seen tenant students refuse to pay rent after an impromptu rent increment, and the dean of students at the time backed them. I am not saying you withhold rent. You could end up being fined for that if your landlord sought legal redress. Plus it helps to be seen as cooperative, and as acting in goodwill, by the surrounding community, boycotting rent payment won’t serve that purpose. But in any case know what you are entitled to, then go ahead and demand it. Seek help and official support from the offices we have if you have to, they are only there to serve you. One of the things I am sure you are entitled to is hygienic living conditions. And I think hygiene is as important as the comfort and safety of being inside a well-built room(s). It is just one of those things which a human being with a modicum of self-respect should find indispensable. I hope the next time I visit Grand, there will be better things to write about.

A SUCCESSFUL BASH IN CAMPUS AT LAST.

I start off with congratulating the organizers of last night’s bash, kudos y’all. Or should I say tonight’s bash? You see am writing this from a friend’s laptop while seated on one of those plastic chairs that are only too common in most hostels. It is 2.30 a.m., the night of the bash, and some comrades are still having fun and partying at the bus-park. But I wouldn’t be caught dead leaving any party at any time after 4.00 a.m. Only losers stay at parties that long. There’s a reason for this. First, either they came to the party alone and all their socializing skills failed them during the party, therefore, they have nothing to go to their rooms early to. They usually end up staying the whole party, hoping to get lucky somehow, until the deejay chases everyone away with a Cha Kutumaini Sina kind of track. The other reason is when you bring your chic to the party and she gets chips fungwad by a more handsome, more intelligent, and better socially adept dude than you. Bad things happen to good people too, so in such a case just pray that you will get another one where you got the first one. But alas, there’s no cure for bad luck! So if that’s what you think you are suffering from, then get yourself to the student counselor’s office ASAP. You might be in need of some psychological fortification against more future disappointments.

Moving away from the losers and back to the actual party, according to one of my friend whose opinion I sought, the bash was wildly successful. With exams near and everything that’s happening around campus, there was the right mood for a party, so that helped in making the party rock. The emcee, deejays and different performers also added to the variety that was enjoyed by those present. I danced to some old, nostalgic tunes I haven’t heard in a long time including some local songs I have always refused to save in my laptop. It turns out that the same song can sound rather different in a bash than at your room. What impressed me is that Kimathi got talent, and someone needs to develop it and market it. Some of the hip-hop songs sung by fellow comrades are really dope. Like goddamn, these guys can really rap. There was even a gospel track that made me think back to Sunday school days in a really fond way. As always the major letdown was that the chics did not show up in huge numbers as needed. However, the same friend of mine was quite satisfied with the female turn out. Anyway, low female attendance was the major flaw that most of those who were hoping to get lucky will have a hard time overlooking. In future someone should put incentives in place to encourage more comrades of the feminine gender to make an appearance in such events.

It is really difficult to be completely lucky in a campus with a gender ratio such as ours; even much less so when the ladies choose not to attend most of the fun events. I do not think that the ladies realize the inherent advantage of attending a campus bash, or any party at all where there are men. Over the centuries, a substantial fraction of women’s self-esteem has been tied to how attractive they are to the male gender. That hasn’t changed much in the 21st century despite what the feminists may say. The point is, at most of these parties the kind of attention and naked desire which the mere presence of a lady evokes in most males has the potential to boost a lady’s self-esteem in no small way. We all know the benefits of a high self-esteem. What’s even better is that a lady doesn’t even have to sacrifice her dignity or moral principles to this end. It is simply a matter of availing herself and choosing whether to have fun while she is being admired or to simply stand in a corner and be admired; because the simple fact is that she will be admired. Perhaps not by everyone, but trust me there will be more glances cast her way than she has probably ever received in  one day, unless of course she is a runway model or something like that.

Ladies and their prudish behavior aside, Fred Omondi’s performance kind of made up for their scarcity. For those few minutes he was on stage, everyone momentarily sobered up enough to listen, each ready to laugh. Although he started off with some overly cliché racial jokes which did not sit well with a majority of the audience, he soon found his groove back. I laughed my heart off quite a number of times. Ironically, with a simple yet crafty M-Pesa withdrawal joke, he managed to get the crowd to laugh at the same kind of jokes they had initially frowned upon. That goes to show the kind of performer he is, one who is confidently established in his art. The major flop was his repeating a joke I had read on Facebook two days earlier, am sure others saw it too. At this digital age, telling a joke once is telling it a million times because it will soon be all over social media. Or did he assume because we are deep within Nyeri County no one could have heard that one before? Creativity in the performing arts is much called for in this day and age; Fred should realize that if he wishes to retain his fans. I don’t know a single person who likes hearing the same joke twice. All in all, he had most of us in stitches more than once. So he accomplished what he was hired to do, that is, make us laugh. To those who missed his performance am really sorry for you. But I won’t repeat anything he said, so that next time you can get your bum to where the party is at and hear for yourself. In any case, life is short, party a little at least.

Some friends of mine would crucify me for suggesting that anyone party a little. They subscribe to a different philosophy: Party often and party hard! I guess that is in line with Khalifa’s hit song, Work Hard Play Hard. What we do in one semester qualifies as hard work, unless you are taking computer packages alone. After a week of classes, assignments and cats, there’s sometimes a need to let off some steam. That’s all the excuse you should ever need to go out and have fun. But we have fun differently. For example, I noticed some CU or CA members reading the bible outside the mess while the bash was going on. Bible study at midnight, outside in the cold darkness? They even went further to preach to and convince some revelers to accept Christ as their Lord and savior. God bless you all, and may he bless those souls you prayed for to hold on to that salvation. I wonder if God forgives an ongoing sin. I mean, if you are prayed for to get saved while you’re drunk, do you simultaneously get saved and backslide immediately after you say “Amen.”? You know like the way some viruses restores a file whenever you delete it, or keep opening a popup window no matter how many times you click Cancel or Ok?

Finally: Dear Lord, our God, please forgive us our sins and keep us from ‘brokeness’ and hangovers. Protect us from punk a** n****s and punk a** b****es too. Be with us in our triumphs and our defeats, and forever guide us to be ourselves without offending you too much so. In Jesus name may we all say….

And Good Luck in your exams.

DISCIPLINARY COMMITTEE GUILTY LIST GETTING LONGER.

On Thursday we learnt that a number of comrades had been called to the disciplinary committee hearings scheduled for next week. The reason given and I quote from one of the letters is: “On 24th October, 2013 you participated in the student unrest which took place within the university, this is in violation of the Rules and Regulations.” At the time of writing on Thursday, I thought the university had prepared its final list of participants in the unrest. But they still had a few surprises up their sleeves. We cannot tell whether they saved a few phone calls for the next day or they decided to add more names to the list. But more people were getting the same kind of calls asking them to go pick their ‘letter’ from the registrar’s office yesterday. How do I know this? I was with one such person yesterday morning when they received their phone call. What a fucked up way to start a weekend!

What’s even more fucked up is that the events of last time are repeating themselves again. As it turns out, some of the comrades who will be facing the disciplinary committee are leaders in DeKUTSO. Rumour has it that at least one of them is in the three top ranking positions. I cannot say I was shocked. After three years in Kimathi, nothing shocks me in this university anymore. Surprised is more like it. Maybe the university was hoping that we wouldn’t notice that a trend is emerging already. Whenever widespread disciplinary hearings are scheduled, members of DeKUTSO leadership have to be included. Thus, the university effectively cripples our first line of defense. These are the people who have the most say in helping us defend ourselves, so they are silenced first. Last time Kabutu, the chair-person, and Kunyiha, the secretary general, were both facing a disciplinary hearing. Therefore, none of them could attend in an official capacity or otherwise the hearing of the other students to help them at least get an equitable chance to defend themselves. The chairperson himself ended up getting a suspension, and I don’t know what happened to the sec. gen. after his case against the university.

I have only seen one copy of that letter and I do not know if the others are all similar. Whatever the case, it seems like victimization to call someone up for a disciplinary hearing for having ‘participated in the student unrest’. How many people were at the bus park that day waiting for and later listening to the VC’s address? How many more arrived late after he was gone to find out what he had said? Are all these people being called for a disciplinary hearing? No. Only a few were handpicked, and I think if you look carefully you will find they have one thing in common. And it is not that they participated in the student unrest. I will not speculate on that, I will leave that to you if you feel like it.

Yesterday, I attended a parent’s AGM in a certain school not so far away. If you have never attended one as a parent, I’ll tell you what usually happens in most of them. The principal, deputy principal, or PTA chairperson usually propose many things to which the parents are either supposed to agree with or simply refuse. All it takes for a proposal to pass is for a couple of parents to shout ‘yes’ while those opposed just mumble unintelligently amongst themselves without shouting a louder ‘no’. At that point the proposer deems the proposal approved. As a consequence, parents get fee increments they cannot afford, new projects which may not be necessary, meaningless fines and, inevitably, give the teachers powers over their child, which metaphorically makes both the parents and poor children slaves to the school. Funnily, those who keep quiet the most complain all the way home and beyond. The whole time going on and on about how such and such an implementation or resolution shouldn’t have been allowed. In places like that, if you do not loudly disagree, then you are silently agreeing. We can draw parallels here by trying to compare what happens in these institutes of primary and secondary education with what happens in DKUT. What are we agreeing to in Kimathi by keeping quiet? If you have no idea, then welcome to Kimathi because you must be a freshman.

People are different and so maybe you actually agree with everything. Or maybe you just have the disposition of that parent who complains on the way home and not when the principal finally gives the parents a chance to speak. Fear and cowardice are things we can all empathize with because we have felt and experienced them at least once in our lives. The difference is that some master their fear and free themselves from the implicit slavery of silent discontentment. Others are neither so strong nor courageous enough; they think that they have more to lose if they speak than if they keep quiet. Although there are times when speaking out harms someone in one way or the other, most of the time it works to our advantage and enables us to get what we want. And even when we do not get it, we can proudly look at ourselves in the mirror and know that we once stood up against something that was not right according to us. Not many people have that luxury, most people just go through life hoping, actually praying, that no one will ask them to defend their principles and beliefs. Ironically, others are so convinced by their principles and beliefs that they are ready to strap on a bomb and blow up themselves to kingdom come. You don’t have to be in either extreme, but you ultimately have to choose which kind of person you want to be in life.

While you are making that choice, I would like you to consider the lives of Jesus, Martin Luther Jr., Malcolm X and Mahatma Gandhi. I am not saying that you should stick your neck out like they did. What I am trying to say is the power of these persons came less from anything they had within themselves, but more from the kind of following they had, the people who supported them. Closer home, I can only use our two best examples who, as fate would have it, turn out to be antagonists (Fahali wawili hawakai zizi moja). These are the former PM and the current president. Raila’s power and influence comes from the loyalty of his supporters, Uhuru’s from the tyranny of their number, to quote Mutahi Ngunyi. What is being said here is that without enough support, neither Martin Luther Jr. nor Malcolm X would have heralded the dawn of civil rights. Gandhi wouldn’t have won independence for the Indians. And Jesus would be just another name in the bible. That’s why, personally, I am ready to sacrifice in the support of some people who might only have been called to the disciplinary committee because of what they know rather than what they did. No heroics, just do what you feel is right. To me that’s empowering DeKUTSO by categorically stating that I am a hundred percent behind them. We should all realize that without our support, DeKUTSO is about just as useful to us as a used toilet paper. And like I love saying: Speak when it is your turn to speak, act when it is your duty to act.

FINALLY: LIST OF THOSE TO FACE DISCIPLINARY COMMITTEE IS OUT.

You don’t have to wait any longer to know if you will be facing the disciplinary committee over the unrest that took place last month. If you did not receive a call from the registrar’s office today asking you to go collect a letter from the secretary, then I think there are only two possible scenarios. Either you have changed your number since first year, hence you were unreachable, or you are free to study for your examinations without the heavy cloud of an impending disciplinary hearing hanging over your head. You should pray that it is the latter. Otherwise, you will have to study without the reassurance that you will be sitting for this semester’s examination. That has to be really demotivating. But if anything is demotivating around here, it has to be this very fear of being summoned to a disciplinary hearing. Is this not the very reason why some students refused to come forward to witness in Morris case? Probably because the power which the disciplinary committee wields over students is immense; and in such a situation the balance is tipped to the student’s disadvantage.
Anyways, not everyone whose name ended up on that damning list is guilty nor will all of them get the dreaded suspensions. But some might end up going home, and only time will tell who those will be. Hopefully, no one will miss out on their education just because they were at the wrong place at the wrong time, and have no alibis otherwise. In the same breath, those who received the letters advising them to attend a disciplinary hearing next week should not be too stressed. Having seen the letter, it serves more to shock and scare you than to state the reasons for your disciplinary hearing. It lists all the possible disciplinary offences a student can possibly commit in and/or around campus. Really? Come on DKUT! Who could have committed all of them in one day? This makes one wonder whether the university is witch-hunting. Are they just looking for someone to take the fall or do they actually have concrete evidence against the accused persons? And if they do, why did they not include that in the letter instead of duplicating a section of the rules and regulations?
The students might have been expecting this kind of psychological games, but their parents will be shocked out of their wits. A copy of the letter was sent to the parents and/or guardians of the students accused of taking part in the unrest. There’s nothing like telling a parent that their beloved child is accused of breaking every disciplinary rule of conduct. Some comrades will never be treated the same at home ever again or command the kind of respect some people do simply because they made it to campus. The purpose of sending the parents a copy beats logic unless they are to attend the hearing in their child’s defense. But if you did not already know, parents are not allowed to attend the disciplinary hearing. There are even stories of parents going to beg for a reversal of judgment only to be turned down. Nevertheless, we can understand the need to protect parents from exploitation by students who have been suspended or expelled yet continue to ask for financial support as if they are still in school. However, I feel that they should have been sent a different copy suited to their context, not the same terrifying copy that the students got.
My name might also be in that list, or a subsequent list, and I might end up spending some quality time with these honourable, learned gentlemen. May be then they might even condescend to making me understand how things are done in a university. I came to university to learn; and I have to say here that I do not want to learn just engineering and things thus related. True learning should be all encompassing, and the members of the disciplinary committee surely know that. That’s why there’s hope that the committee, being composed of some teaching staff of the university, will be diligent in its proceedings and in that way teach us something or two about administrative justice. After all, if we do not learn the principles of fairness and justice in university, where will we? Some of us might leave here thinking that such things as fairness and justice are above learned people. And that is the lesson some will take to the world.
The world is harsh and oftentimes people are forced to resort to crooked means to survive. That’s why being morally upright and full of integrity is sometimes viewed as an ideal achievement reserved for demigods. It shouldn’t be like that though, because a world without morality and integrity is not a world worth living in. When a society is founded on ascending strata of authority and power, integrity and morality become even more important. That’s because these are the things that can leash the absolutely strong persons from taking advantage of the weak ones. I am betting that the disciplinary hearing process will be characterized by integrity and transparency because a lot of students will be watching closely this time round. Further, the disciplinary committee probably realizes that the administrative unit will be judged by the smoothness and fairness with which they conduct this business of disciplining the ‘malcontents’. As Abraham Lincoln said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” So let’s wait and see how the disciplinary committee uses its power.

HOW DEKUTSO WAS LOCKED OUT OF SENATE MEETING.

A person died. People felt the pain of losing a life. They rioted. Lectures were suspended and the aforementioned persons asked to vacate campus premises. And so it was that hurriedly students packed what little they could and left the campus with no backward glance. Because the request was no mere polite request, it was backed by a force that any a Kenyan rioter reckons with, GSU and everything that that name stands for. Everything that happened that day was to be the talk of many students for the days that followed. But even the most interesting stories turn stale beyond a certain number of retell. So the moment we were given something else to talk about we jumped on it like a lion on a limp gazelle. This came in the form of some 500/- we were supposed to pay so as to be reregistered back to our courses of study. It turned out that this was a topic that raised more questions than answers.
One of the questions was how was it that the senate arrived at the value? The actual damage was without a shadow of doubt not equivalent to the amount charged. No one could come up with a good enough explanation to justify it. At times like this, we turn to the one place we can easily access answers, where questions are answered to the best knowledge of the one being asked without counter-questions, our student organization. Granted at times they are in the dark like the rest of us, when they have information they are less tightfisted with it. Therefore, upon resuming school scores upon scores of students were hounding the DeKUTSO leaders for all type of information. Not the least important was why we had to pay that amount and not something much less. The answers that came from representatives of DeKUTSO, who spoke in an unofficial capacity, were quite curious.
Allegedly, no student representative was allowed in the seating during which the senate settled on that figure. Most universities have in their statutes a provision that at least one student representative, almost always the chairperson, will be allowed to sit in the senate meetings. Similarly, here in Kimathi that’s how it has always been, with the exception of the senate meetings to discuss the examination results; the chairperson is not allowed attendance for the obvious reason that he is also one of the students whose results are being discussed. Since the chairperson was away taking care of family matters, this meant either the vice-chairperson or secretary general should have been allowed to attend that seating acting on behalf of the chairperson. Despite the precedence, none of the DeKUTSO leaders was let to attend this particular meeting. But statutes are legal documents, and all law is full of exceptions; in legal circles an ‘exception to the exception of an exception’ is not a rarity. Probably, there is an exception in the statutes limiting this right of representation of students during senate meetings.
The DEKUTSO chairperson was diligent enough to follow up upon returning to school to find out how that value was set. Perhaps he anticipated all the students’ questions and saw fit to be prepared beforehand. His account of the reasons he was given as to why the amount came to 500/- was amusing to say the least. Apparently, by rioting we ruined the public image of the university. Consequently, the university has to spend a great deal of money on advertisements and publicity so as to restore its previous glory. It was somehow insulting to listen to that attempt at accounting for how the money was going to be spent – an insult to the intellect. Not only was it an incomplete account but also did not sound well thought out. Over 2.5m for repairs, publicity and the miscellaneous expenses? Without his saying so, one got a feeling that he was himself not fully convinced but had had to accept the explanation nevertheless.
Anyway, let’s quit beating a dead horse here, we already paid. A question that’s more pertinent is what is the need of having privileges when they can be so easily taken away? When a student leader can be asked to walk out of the senate meeting without any prior notice? Because that is what is purported to have happened to the secretary general and vice-chairperson when they were representing the chairman. Mind you, these are people who are as much a member of the senate as any other. If indeed things happened this way, one might ask if the rest of the senate couldn’t have been courteous enough to at least write them beforehand, or telk them in the previous seating not to attend that day? Regardless of how good the reason, it seems uncouth to let someone come for a meeting then ask them to leave having known all along they were not to sit in the meeting. But good manners, politeness and propriety are not a priority in some offices around campus. Just the other day a secretary asked a student in a not-so-polite manner, “Sasa utafunza dean kufanya kazi wewe mwanafunzi?” The sensitive nature of the case at hand called for a little more consideration on her part, but what did she care? She probably has a million more things of greater importance than any one single student in Kimathi. Makes one wonder why workers find it hard to be courteous. But then I hear students are not the easiest lot to deal with, and that may be all the reason there is for everything – from the senate asking the student representatives to leave its meeting all the way down to a secretary dismissing the plight of a student.

EXPOSED: HOW FEAR MIGHT DENY MORRIS JUSTICE.

I recently watched The Kingdom of Heaven. It is a great movie with intelligent dialogue, which is something I always admire in any movie. One quote that stuck with me from the movie is: “What man is a man who does not make the world better?” Throughout the movie the protagonist applies himself towards making his world better, and in so doing he becomes much more of a man. Unfortunately, I did not get to watch the whole movie because the .flv file was broken and only played up to about the 68th minute. But I had already gotten that important point: When you are in a position to make your world better, please do. Otherwise, you do not have the right to be called a man.
In our small world, Kimathi or whatever you call it, there is a notice still hanging on our notice-boards asking persons who witnessed Morris being run over to come forward and help the police with their investigations. The number of students who were in the bus park that day was over one hundred. Personally, I know a few students who were there and saw it all. Regrettably, most of them will not dare to witness in anything that might negatively affect the school. Does that sound strange to you? Of course not, no one wants to be sent home and cut his /her education short. A student told me that he is only a second year and that he does not want to spend the next two years being victimized at every other turn. He did not mention the victimizers, but I understood what he meant nonetheless; every student can at least relate with that fear. He is of the opinion that the 4th years are the ones who should witness and/or testify because they are leaving anyway; they will soon be beyond the reach of the allegedly oppressive tentacles of our administration. The sad truth is that the 4th years will surely find many reasons not to witness too. Ironically, the fact that they are leaving will be one of them. Although they may not say it openly, this is no longer their struggle (wameondokea). Therefore, they can more easily look the other way, or to put it more concisely, nyinyi mbaki na shida zenu.
This kind of apathy is understandable, perhaps even excusable, in the 4th and 5th year students. Theirs has been a journey fraught with many challenges and difficulties; most of them long gave up hope of better days. The others are just barely holding on, praying that they do not face any more frustrations before graduation. The 5th year engineering students are not that lucky, their departure has been delayed to January next year. One more blow that was just unavoidable, according to the reports which came from the departments. That’s why I can understand them if they cannot take any more from this administration; and for not being able to muster enough strength to deliver the proverbial kicks of a dying horse. But we all wish they could, don’t we? Nothing dramatic is needed, only to come forward and be a witness. It would be so nice to have a ‘hero’ willing to help Morris now that he cannot speak for himself.
The comrades in second and third years are a different matter altogether. Their gravitation towards self-preservation is no less understandable than that of the final year students. However, the sophomores and third years are the only ones in a position to take a calculated risk. If they will not help Morris in death, no other comrade will – freshmen are too unaware and the seniors are too old, that’s to say, they are too unconcerned. The fact that anyone who was in the bus park that day fears to come forward and give an account of what happened shows that something is wrong somewhere; it should never be this difficult to speak the truth. In this case, I do not expect the courts will subpoena anyone as a witness. After all, only cases with sufficient evidence go to court. Seeing as the police are reaching out to us, it is doubtable that they have enough evidence to go by at the moment. Meaning that if none of the comrades who witnessed the accident will offer their testimony, the police might close the file on Morris’ death. However, this is only saddening speculation – comrades ought not to dishonor the memory of one of our own like that.
We can bury our heads in the sand and pretend everything is fine, but the truth shall remain that things are far from alright. How can anything be alright when comrades are too afraid to witness to something because it happened within campus? How can anything be alright when a fellow comrade lies six feet under, and we here do nothing to give him justice? Things are not alright, some of you will realize this the moment you stop pretending to be too busy preparing for exams. At that moment, you will look up and find everything that’s wrong staring you in the eyes. If you are convinced that things are alright, go tell Morris. Wait, he is dead! Yes, and only because something else was wrong. I have seen some changes here and there, so someone is trying to correct that. But was it the only thing that was dysfunctional? If so, why then are some students still afraid of coming forward now that it has been singled out for correction? Without exactly being a leadership expert, I know that leaders who base their influence on fear never go far. John C. Maxwell taught me that, but Adam Smith had said it many years earlier in connection to slavery. It is much better to win the admiration and respect of those being led so that they follow freely, willingly. What’s the difference? One group of followers would kill the leader if it had the chance, the other group would kill for the leader if they had to. As it turns out, quite naturally, the latter group is also the most productive. I live for the day that the administration will prove to us that they are the comrades’ friends, that the comrades have nothing to fear. But in case that day never comes, let me be on record as saying I was ready to be friends. Because friends work together for their own good, friends are not afraid of each other, and friends listen when you tell them that they are doing something wrongly.

Posted from WordPress for Android

IT’S THE TRUTH THAT CRITICIZES THE ADMINISTRATION, NOT US.

A student said something that made me think of Jesus’ teachings and sayings. There is one thing about Jesus that even most atheists are forced to admit. It is undeniable that he was a great teacher; so much so that his philosophy continues to influence a majority of the world’s population two millennia after his death. The specific phrase evoked into memory by the student was: “Let him/her who has ears hear”. It is amazing that the son of God acknowledged that anyone could listen to or read his teachings, but that not all would be able to understand. As that student spoke, I felt that this blog, its content and purpose, might be somehow misunderstood. There’s little I can do about it, people hear what they want to hear and not necessarily what you meant or intended them to hear. Common sense dictates I humbly accept the criticism and move on, and I would if it had been fair criticism. Only it wasn’t. More importantly it touched on a rather sensitive topic that ought to be addressed by us all.
By his own admission, this student likes writing, but like any student is often too busy to be able to manage a blog on the side. So his passion lies dormant within him, only finding some form of release on social media. He writes some really great posts on Facebook, brilliant and insightful. Other than that, I doubt his creativity in writing finds many more outlets. It’s a waste of talent really, and to support this claim I quote Young Jeezy in his song My President is Black, “Be all you can be.” This is of course a more succinct way to express Marianne Williamsons’ famous, albeit lengthy, quotation. She wrote, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” Sadly, some students do not want, or are afraid, to explore all their talents. And that may be the only reason why the next LeBron James, Shakespeare, Rihanna, Messi, Einstein or Mozart will not come from Kimathi university. The bottom line is you will never know how much you can achieve until you try; that might mean you pushing yourself beyond the limit. Who knows? Maybe that course you are taking is just a stepping stone to a greater calling. Luckily, experience has shown that our greatest calling is always closer to our passions and interests, so pursue those.
Let’s digress, back to the accusation made by this mysterious fellow comrade. Apparently, to him, this blog is too critical of the administration. He seems to think that the purpose of this blog is to criticize the administration of DKUT. There is only one thing to say here, if the truth does not favour the administration, should it not be said because someone in high office might get offended? Should we desist from speaking, writing or commenting on the truth whenever such truth points out the weaknesses in our administrative structure? If we all act that way, we will never even get to know the areas where we need to improve. That is reason enough to say the truth when you see something going wrong somewhere; if only so someone else will notice that something is wrong and act accordingly. It might be easier and more harmonious to bear the pains of being a student in a growing university, to pray to God that you graduate and leave Kimathi as you found it. Karma is a b*tch though, such cowardice that leads to mute inaction will surely be punished one day.
To quote Martin Luther, you are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say. One day this institution will either thank you or curse you for having either stood with it or neglected it when it needed you most. It is now that Kimathi needs you. It needs you to speak up when things go wrong, to deny anybody a chance to sleep on their job, to push agendas until objectives are achieved, and to not watch as things go from bad to worse simply because you tried to do something once and nothing happened. Watch carefully and see how some students are too afraid to even ask why a queue, be it in the mess, finance office or wherever, is not moving at all. Instead they grumble amongst themselves and end up saying nothing to the Kamaus and Wanjirus chatting excitedly in Kikuyu oblivious of the students queuing up all the way to Timbuktu.
These things will never stop unless you make them. It is your right to be served in a timely manner, and the person serving you is not doing you a favour. They are paid to work, therefore, fear not when you remind them that their attention should be on serving you and not pausing to exchange banter with coworkers. There’s one thing you should not do though, do not be rude. Rudeness begets rudeness. What you should do instead is be firm and persistent in your insistence to be treated with respect and dignity, don’t feel shy about overstating the importance of your time (or energy, in case you are faced with that bureaucratic office-to-office referral that some workers use to procrastinate serving you). Basically, what is being said here is that you should be courageous enough to chase after your dreams,  to protect your dignity and guard your integrity. Take my word for it, you cannot do any of these things if you agree with everything and everyone, never taking a firm stand every now and then. The final word to that student, and anyone else who thinks that this blog is out to criticize or lash out at the administration: Maybe the administration should do something so that there is nothing to criticize if one was so inclined. That will be a happy day for us all, and this blog will gladly change its focus to more pleasant things e.g. writing romantic love poems for a change.