Media reports are not all exaggerations. It is hardly absurd to be worried about the facts that for several days lecturers seems to threaten the ability of the university to meet its obligations.
At the most basic level at this juncture, lecturers can make two fundamental mistakes about students and therefore lose. It is indispensable role in school. First they can underestimate the importance of the rising powers – or their impulse to rivalry, at the risk of unleashing it. Second, they can overestimate threat or challenge that they pose – as does in my judgement much of the narrative and analysis around a “coming disorder” and overestimates risks, then it amplifies their salience misuses resources to meet them, and misses opportunities for leadership and coalition building.
In the near week, there is perhaps more reason for worry about the second risk of conflict between comrades and the lectures. Tension over security between lecturers and students and between students and outsiders. How this would play out is uncertain. In comrades debate and comrades group commentary on this, there is an assumption that even a limited clash, one stance, would be unleashed and lead to more dramatic scenarios. That’s is a possibility.
Over time, the gap between comrades and lectures will narrow. Whether this happen slowly or continues at its present rate will have an effect on the tensions and reactions each has to the other. The worst fear is a ‘comrade’ that feels confidence enough, or sees the opportunity to initiate a strike for the retaking of units. The assumed operations plan is that comrades offensive would be a lightening strike that would take by surprise and impose heavy costs for intervention from the government. And if the government does not respond immediately, or not see immediate operational success in its counterpart, I see students struggle to decide like I had written earlier whether reforms or revolution would answer their needs.
Do you want to stay informed about current events in Kenyatta University and Kenya as a country? The website K.U-Comrades Forum is an independent news platform, serves every student @ our esteemed Kenyatta University.