Solomon Omondi Abeti is the indefatigable optimist, with a deep gaze expressing an honest, all-or-nothing demeanor. With Mr. Abeti, life is simple and straightforward, what you see is what you get.
Born in the hilly countryside of Kabondo in Homa Bay County, the lanky KINAPOSA secretary general became an orphan at an early age and was committed to Asumbi Orphanage from where he attended Suna Primary School then Wang’apala High School. He had to drop out from the latter institution in form 3 due to fee challenges after his sponsor pulled out. Thereafter he joined Owiro Mixed High School in Kabondo after the Deputy Principal Dismas Ombogo took him in and sponsored his education through form 3 and 4 where he graduated in the class of 2013. Thereafter he joined Bridge School International in Riga as an untrained teacher and held the position for a year. In early 2015 he moved to Gideon’s Orphanage to work as an administrator under Apostle Newton Atela. The same institution accepted his proposal seeking college sponsorship, allowing him to enroll at The Kisumu National Polytechnic in January 2016 where he joined the Business department.
“All these trials and tribulations helped me discover that I have a passion for servant leadership, a sentiment that propelled me to become class representative the year I joined TKNP,” he says. His experiences as a representative also helped him identify the gap in leadership that came about due to selfishness among executives. He wanted to vie for the Secretary’s post in 2017 but stepped down for Bruce Ochieng who didn’t succeed. This year he consulted and strategized with other students in his department and decided to vie for the post, “I want to serve the student’s interests very well, standing firm with my colleagues and working with the administration, not fighting against them. I also want to lay a firm foundation in this post for future office holder”, he says.
His top priorities as secretary include uniting KINAPOSA leaders to speak in one voice; ensuring students get subsidized and affordable meals as happens in other institutions and to re-establish the role and importance of the student union. In his first 100 days in office he hopes to get KINAPOSA leaders to speak in one voice through weekly executive meetings and a fortnightly general assembly as happens in other colleges; he also hopes to secure subsidized meals for students via a union controlled canteen at the Student’s Centre Hall in partnership with the administration.
“If I can secure these simple but powerful developments for the students, whoever takes over from me will inherit a powerful and useful office”, he says.
Musa Ochieng Rabong’o, 23, is a cool and calculating young man who speaks in measured words and tones, rarely getting excited, but always making his point. His demeanor fits his preferred career, an accountant in the business department since joining The Kisumu National Polytechnic in September 2016. Rabong’o spent his childhood in South Nyanza, studying at Yogo Primary School in Rangwe then Migori Boys, from where he graduated in the class of 2015. He fondly remembers his high school years when he played soccer for the school team as a defender and how the team won the Migori zonal championships in 2014.
Once he was in TKNP he came to realize that the first step to KINAPOSA leadership was by becoming a class representative, which he quickly achieved in his first semester. It is from this position that he witnessed firsthand, student complaints about funds misuse, erratic internal bursary distribution from the union and diversion of union funds to executive entertainment. It is this fiscal indiscipline within the last two KINAPOSA offices that inspired him to help students take charge of their funds and spend them well
The treasurer’s top priorities over the next 12 months is to bring transparency to students’ funds by sharing financial details through open collaboration with other KINAPOSA executives, enhancing accountability to students about their funds. “I also want to introduce equity in funds allocation because previously some KINAPOSA departments and student initiatives never got support simply because the treasurers didn’t get along with the leaders,” he says.
In his first 100 days in office he hopes to rejuvenate the internal bursary scheme for students and make it a regular and predictable benefit. He also hopes to change the student entertainment location in partnership with the entertainment secretary, from Lakers restaurant on Busia Road to Jumuia Hotel which is closer to TKNP, more spacious and safer.
For John Achola Ouma, 26, life has always been a tale of struggle and triumph over adversity. The first born son in a family of two, he became an orphan in 2003, after his father’s death, a situation that left him and his younger brother in the hands of relatives and well wishers. Ouma attended Lianda Primary School in Awendo, Migori before joining Kanga High School, an institution he only enjoyed for a year before dropping out due to lack of school fees. A year later he joined Manyatta High School where he eventually completed his secondary education, doing his KCSE in 2011. At Manyatta his outstanding performance earned him the Assistant Headboy position while in Form 3 and 4, enabling him to exercise the leadership roles he would later apply in college. From 2012 to 2015 he worked at Ogenya Girls as an untrained teacher, holding the post until he had saved enough money to join college. Eventually he joined Kisumu Polytechnic in 2016 and enrolled into the Civil Engineering class, deferring in 2017, to resume studies this year. “My inspiration to leadership is my uncle Nicholas Koriko who is the Finance CEC in Homa Bay County. I also have a passion for serving the community, especially the vulnerable who suffer hardships like I did earlier in life”.
The ever smiling Ouma has four goals he is determined to achieve within KINAPOSA over the next 12 months. First is to improve communication between the association and the students about projects and initiatives, unlike previous executive offices that kept silent about their activities. Second, he hopes to broaden the revenue sources for KINAPOSA through income generating initiatives such as a student operated canteen and student run tuck-shops that operate from early in the morning to late at night as happens in universities across the country. Third, he wants to coordinate with the administration to secure external accommodation and affordable transportation for students to minimize commuting costs and times. Finally, Ouma wants to forge leadership linkages with student associations in other institutions of higher learning so as to pick ideas that can improve life for poly students. On top of this the chairman hopes to have security improved in and around the institution within his first 100 days in office.
The new chairman’s biggest desire on the job is to leave a tangible legacy that students can see and remember for years to come. “Many of my predecessors never delivered on all or some of their promises. You just can’t see what they did after all those years. I hope to change that”, he declares.
John Ouma Acholla is the new chairman of the Kisumu National Polytechnic Student’s Association. The Building Department student beat his closest competitor Evance Owino Ojwang by 485 to 454 votes to emerge the winner after a grueling campaign that saw candidates pulling all stops to secure victory. He will now take over with his running-mate Lavendah Ethel Namunzi of the Business department in a combination that is likely to yield balanced representation in the student’s body.
Solomon Abeti Omondi won the contest for the Secretary General’s post with 589 votes in a tight contest that saw Bob Wasonga Nyakiti emerging second with 568 votes. In finance Bernard Rabong’o from the Business department sailed in unopposed and will form join the triumvirate of student leaders along with other representatives.
This election marked the second year running when the Kisumu National Polytechnic has held an electronic vote, distinguishing itself as a leader in Information Technology and democratic processes within the country. The exercise began on schedule at 7 am with polling centers scattered across eight departments of the institution and was to end at 4 pm but was extended for an hour after a surge in voter numbers immediately after classes ended. Security officials reported no incidents of violence, malpractices or illegal campaigning as the student fraternity displayed maturity and focus.
“I urge all who participated to remember one thing we said in the morning: only one winner can emerge from an election contest and that is what has happened. To those who lost, accept it graciously or use the correct channels to express your grievances. To those who won, be gracious and work with your rivals and everyone else to improve the polytechnic. Even Uhuru reached out to Raila after last year’s hotly contested elections,” said Principal Joyce Nyanjom amidst laughter in the tallying centre where aspirants gathered for the results.
The student leaders will be sworn in tomorrow Saturday, June 9, 2018 at 10 am and will then commence a term that lasts one year.
FIND BELOW A PARTIAL LIST OF WINNERS
Internal Security – Ochieng Alloys Okumu
Entertainment and culture – Aketch Odhiambo Maxwell
Health – Ilary Opiyo Shem
Sports – Nyarath Baridi Brian
Assistant Academic Affairs – Jaka Pauline Kwekwe
Academic Affairs director – Ochieng Brian
Assistant Finance – Ouma Adhiambo Edna
Finance – Bernard Rabong’o
Deputy Sec Gen – Oluoch Brian Otieno
FOR A CONCLUSIVE LIST INCLUDING DEPARTMENTAL REPRESENTATIVES, KINDLY VISIT THE DEAN’S OFFICE
Campaigns for the Kisumu National Polytechnic Students’ Association reached their climax today as aspirants intensified their vote hunts ahead of the elections scheduled for tomorrow June 8, 2018.
Candidates approached voters using an array of innovative wooing strategies in a bid to tilt the support base in their favor ahead of the exercise that begins at 7 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. With crowds of cheering supporters backed with banners and posters, aspirants combed the nooks and crannies of the institution in search of voters who for once became masters of the leadership game. Blaring vuvuzelas, whistles and drums rent the air as competitors engaged each other in a show of strength. Well endowed candidates even brought along vehicles mounted with speakers to convey their message to voters. The aspirants who only a day earlier concluded vetting and hit the campaign trail gave speeches about their plans for the student body, seeking to surpass the performance of their predecessors whose terms come to an end immediately after the election.
Voting will be through electronic secret ballots with registered electors expected to cast their votes at their respective departments. “Each candidate is expected to be stationed at the Hospitality Building throughout the exercise and must have one agent at all the polling stations, which are eight in number. There, they can observe the live streaming of results because every time a ballot is cast, the variation will reflect immediately”, said Lucy Khoja, the dean of students.
This election marks the second occasion when the institution has used electronic voting after introducing it in 2017, providing a platform for students and candidates to participate in a free, fair and transparent exercise devoid of complaints and mistrust.
“The results will be announced at 4 pm, immediately after voting closes and the swearing-in of the winning candidates will take place the following day”, Mrs. Khoja added.
A total of 44 candidates are fighting it out for 13 posts with only 23 expected to win and form the student’s body.