Franklin Manyara is the current Secretary General, DeKUTSO. Influencer caught up with him to ask him a couple of questions:
1. Who is Manyara?
First of all I acknowledge the lord as my personal savior. I’m single. Manyara is my surname, I’m Franklin mwenda A.K.A manyara. I am a final year student taking bachelor of purchasing and supplies management. I believe in serving humanity as a part of life through looking for possible solutions and resource mobilization.
I believe in the ideology of give and take as a leader and I always look to come out with a win-win situation. I also believe that information is power.
2. What do you think about the current pandemic and how it has affected Kimathi and its activities?
Our only hope in our fight against the pandemic is personal discipline. My advice to Kimathi fraternity: let’s maintain a high level of personal discipline wherever we are.
On matters concerning education, we all know that all institutions are closed. All students are back at home either in rural areas or urban towns. Having dispersed in different areas we all have different challenges including connectivity, availability of bundles and time to study given that most of our parents are now boasting huge source of man power. We cannot assume any of these challenges at any point since we will be disadvantaging a comrade in meru, kisumu, elgeiyo marakwet, kakamega, mombasa and so on.
Let’s not rush to conclude that online classes are good for comrades without analyzing the different challenges affecting our students. As per the constitution of Kenya everyone is entitled high quality service. Currently online classes are not appropriate for students
3. What is the university’s official position on online learning?
At the moment, nothing is official. There has been no official communication.
4. There have been rumors that some classes have already started learning online? How is that yet the university hasn’t made online learning official?
There are some funny lecturers who have started this issue in school of engineering eg mechatronics. In the school of Nursing they’ve had a trial but I have not heard of any class.
We gave a proposal to the school but they’ve not yet given us feedback. It seems they’re finding it hard to honor our terms.
But we have a few lecturers and departments with uncouth behavior who want to force online classes to students and remain loyal to the university and they have already started online lessons. We advise our able class reps to refrain from such lectures since we need unity and to resist online classes until the university solves the pending issues.
5. Even before the pandemic, the issue of rent has been an increasingly painful thorn for comrades. What are you doing about it?
We are approaching the big hostels to reduce rent by 1500 and charge rent per semester. It’s still an idea which we have shared with management to explore. We’d have made progress were it not for the pandemic. If they charge per semester, comrades will save around 4500 per semester.
6. By the end of your term as Sec Gen, what will your legacy be?
I believe as I end my term we will have solved the issue of rent which has been a challenge to most students. Uniting comrades is also the best thing I can achieve at DeKUT, not through strikes but through involving everyone in decision making. As you are aware, we involved class reps in the discussion about online classes. They were able to to air their views to the VC. As part of my leadership every opinion counts
7. Tell us about your journey before you became Sec Gen.
I have been involved in politics for the last 2 years. In 2018/2019 I was among the people who sat at the drawing board as a strategist and campaigner in Bony Gitonga’s team and I witnessed the betrayal in politics. In fact, at that time, I was to vie as the Secretary for Sports, Security and Entertainment but I eventually decided to go for the Organizing Secretary position in Dedan Kimathi Meru Student Association, which I won.
Come 2019/2020, I was elected as the chair of DeKIMESA. I also vied for the DeKUTSO Sec Gen position which I won with 34 out of 54 delegate votes.
8. What have you learnt from Kimathi politics?
First of all, politics in kimathi currently are tribal. It’s not a secret but I will blame the 2018/2019 election where the other tribes turned against Mt Kenya region calling it Gema. In return the following year, the united Gema community won undisputed.
Kimathi politics just like national politics is tribal based politics. For one to succed he/she needs the backing of clansmen and also support from other communities in return for supporting their candidates. Kimathi politics like national politics is full of betrayal. For example in 2018/2019 I witnessed people using money to get support but they still lost.
In summary, to succeed in politics you should be good in strategy and be very keen on who you trust.
9. Do you think it is possible for Kimathi to have a non-tribal system of politics?
In politics everything is possible but it also depends on the season. Its possible to have non-tribal politics but you have to consider the season and political heat. At some point it will also depend on the people influencing politics. In national politics we say there is a system of mafias, a group of people who strategize, find out the easiest way to win and therefore decide how politics will be. The same applies to campus politics. The mafia will decide whether politics is tribal or not.
10. If we had non-tribal politics, would things actually be better or it doesn’t matter?
I don’t think it really matters. Let’s analyze the advantage of politics at personal level: All types of politics will bring us leaders. The character and personality of the leader elected, either through tribal or non tribal politics, is far away from what we see. The quality of the leader elected depends on the crop of leaders in that season.
If the season is controlled by fools even if we go the majority way without tribal politics, we will elect a fool. If we go the tribal way, we will still elect a fool.
So we cannot give credit to any type of politics. We give credit to the type of leaders who emerge.
11. So how can we improve the quality of leadership in Kimathi?
I believe in Kimathi there exist people with good leadership capabilities, who have not managed to come out either because their tribes are small, they don’t value leadership or they have financial problems. For us to identify such people as comrades we need to unite and have maybe debates, where you can identify their ability to tackle problems, and different groups and societies where we can take note of their abilities eg religious gatherings, groups like Climb to Educate, professional groups like that of accounting.
We have a crop of leaders whose abilities have not been realized by comrades because we don’t value or attend these groups. And that is why uniting comrades becomes a challenge because we don’t have similar interests.
12. How do you think we can tackle the lack of comrade unity in Kimathi?
First of all we have to find unity in our hearts as comrades so that we find the reason to uphold comradeship.
Secondly, we need to unite at the sub-groups level. Its very interesting that you come up with DeChat and find only a few comrades using it. This is because we value ourselves as individuals and don’t value unity at the group level.
For us to have unity in Kimathi, we need to start at the community level, at the societies level, academics groups level, class level, departmental level, hostels and sector levels.
Upon achieving this, we will have attained unity in Kimathi.
13. Any advice for us as DekuTrends?
DekuTrends is a good platform and a good idea. You need to build it through competitions and market it. For example, we can pave way for Dekutso communication to be happening through platforms like DekuTrends and DeChat.
Secondly, you need to avoid biased information. Be neutral in every story.
Also look to partner with smaller organizations in DeKUT like CA, CU, Climb to Educate, Salsa… Look at every aspect in DeKUT.
14. What is your political ambition?
I don’t have any political ambition but I have leadership visions. I see my self holding top seats in this nation not as a politician but as a leader who can change the life of Kenyans through integrity, innovation and invention. Kenyan youths don’t need jobs. They need a platform to enable their abilities and they will perform the best. We don’t need huge political seats to do that, we just need to occupy simple roles in the society.
15. Who do you think will be the next Sec Gen or President in Kimathi?
Anyone is allowed to vie. I’m yet to know anyone’s interest.
16. It has been an honor and a pleasure. How can comrades connect to you?
I’m on Facebook as Frank Manyara and on twitter @franklinmanyar1
*Tell us your thoughts on the interview in the comments section at the bottom of the page. Also, if you have a question for the Sec Gen, you can ask it in the comments section or join the discussion on DeChat. To join the hundreds of comrades on DeChat, click here to download the app on PlayStore*