By: Sumaya Hussein (email@example.com)
Thumbnail photo courtesy of Aloys Otieno
The incumbent Daystar University Students’ Association (DUSA) President, Aloys Lavern Otieno, is vying for the Nairobi governor seat on an independent ticket.
Following the impeachment of Mike Sonko, the DUSA president states that there wasn’t a better candidate among the contesters, hence the decision to vie for the seat. “I made that choice, consulted one or two friends and before I even told my family, I went to get the nomination papers,” said Aloys.
Mr Otieno has served as Daystar President since 2017, after developing interest in politics in 2016 when he was a member of another candidate’s campaign team. Still a master’s student, he says he does not feel as if he is taking a huge leap by vying for county governorship despite being referred to naïve. “It was the same thing (in Daystar), I wasn’t the most popular candidate when I first vied for the (presidency) seat. A lot of people actually advised me to go for a lower position like sports secretary, but I chose to go for the presidency and I won,” said Aloys.
He went on to add that he is merely chasing his dreams and there will be no loss whether or not he wins. “I think I would have gained so many lessons that I can take with me towards whatever position I choose to go for next,” added Aloys.
With a strong team of youth backing him including Daystarians, Aloys mentioned that he is vying for the seat for the greater good of the county. Being a Nairobian, he says he has seen what the city is lacking and what it can “gain by having a great and a competent leader“.
His symbol is the Wi-Fi symbol that resonates well with today’s generation and, according to him, the Wi-Fi bars signify progress, which has been his hashtag ever since he joined politics. Moreover, after serving in the ODM youth league for about three years, he has built a network of young leaders around Nairobi who will help with his campaign.
Aloys’ manifesto comprises of four major things which are: waste management, promoting youth and women enterprises, education empowerment and, women and girl empowerment through providing free sanitary pads. To the surprise of many, Aloys says he is not at all intimidated by the other candidates competing for the same seat. “That’s the beauty of being an underdog, the pressure is not on you, it’s on the other candidates,” he said confidently, “I feel no pressure at all,”.
Aloys says he is grateful for the support the school has given him, with the VC and lecturers reaching out to him and advising him. “The Vice-Chancellor has been a mentor in leadership ever since he took over Daystar, so, he is one person whom I know I can look to for help,” he said. Vice-Chancellor Professor Laban Ayiro had expressed his support for Aloys during the Parents’ welcome tea on orientation week, saying he made him “very proud” and he was “pleasantly shocked” when he heard the news.
Jonah Karanja, the Daystar outgoing social welfare secretary, says Aloys’ decision to vie poses a challenge to the youth “to take power from the older generation.” “Aloys going for the gubernatorial seat will mean so many youths will start vying for various positions across the government,” he said, “So, I fully endorse him and call upon my fellow leaders and youths across the country and Nairobi to come out and support Aloys and challenge the system,” added Karanja.
After serving as school President for three years, Aloys says one thing Daystar has taught him is servant leadership. This, he says, reminds him that however much power he has, his main agenda will always be to serve.