Our great constitution is one that envisaged freedom of speech and expression as core rights in the survival, interaction and general life of a human being. Denial or threats to these simple yet fundamental rights has ignited public uproar with some incidences being characterized by demonstrations and public shows of aggression. Every now and then exercising of these freedoms have rubbed some the wrong way.
Institutions of higher learning in the past year have stood out as entities that have bred a crop of students bitter with the world, with administrations and in some unfortunate situations bitter with themselves. Not once have we heard of students from universities kidnapping kids thereafter demanding for ransom from their shaken and scared parents.
How low have we stooped as students? Is it that life in campus is that trying? Are our pockets ever empty to prompt such actions?
The other day Wadi was imprisoned for misusing social media circles to disrespect the presidency, going to an extent of wishing harm on the president which is in itself treason that attracts the ultimate punishment. Wadi was a young promising University student.
Let me not single out these unfortunate incidences but let me address all students as a whole!
Being in university is a rare opportunity to interact with knowledgeable, open minded and the most civilized citizens that the wide arms of this country has enveloped. It is a golden chance to open our mind beyond the limits that society has set and in the process decency, right mindedness and the concept of reason being over time introduced to us.
Being a university student gives you the chance to look at all around you in three dimensions. It allows you to critique what you have always accepted giving you the upper hand in deciding whether it was all along worth your time and reason.
In my opinion, having the chance to interact with fellow comrades extracted from the various corners of this great nation gives me a rare chance of understanding their way of life their customs, their social norms basically putting me in a better position of accepting them with their various diversities that define their uniqueness.
However the above has not been the case as these institutions that are funded from public coffers have become dens of tribal animosity, hatred ignited by ethnic extractions and cronysm that borrows everything from nepotism and negative ethnicity.
From administrations to the students, the attitude of ‘our people’ against ‘them’ has characterized student elections leading to the election of leaders that aren’t defined by their capability in form of reforms and student service but by the number of fellow tribesmen they have in their ethnic basket.
We have the right to speak our minds. But does this mean that we possess the freedom of abusing and insulting others just because we have a variance in terms of opinion?
The age of throwing insults left right and center for the mere reason of possessing a difference of opinion is so 17th century. It doesn’t belong to the current societal dispensation. We as students should know better.
The current age is one that finds it despicable to answer one with an unmemtionable name just because they put forward a point that’s different from your own. The notoriety that has defined the use of social media by us students is one that is not just worrying but dangerous.
From this moment forward, i challenge you as an educated Kenyan to use that avenue you’ve created to not just complain and rise tribal temperatures but to also engage in discussions that assist not just your immediate countryman but also to offer a solution to the myriad of challenges that affect our institutions of learning, our country and also the world at large.
It’s about time we realized that being a university student is not just a right of passage but a unique one at that. It is a challenge to introduce sobriety in our diverse forms of interaction. Being in university is not just a status, It is a responsibility.
To those of us whose reasoning is no different from that of tribal, illiterate and bitter village men and women who have never seen the inside of a classroom, you’re an insult and a disgrace to the university folk.
Please style up!