by Sumaya Hussein
Daystar University is about to hold its student body elections this semester and candidates have resorted to campaigning online in order to gather support.
This is because the Daystar University Student’s Association (DUSA) elections have come at a time when online learning is dominant in the university, and only a few students are at the campuses for physical classes.
As a result of this, the elections will be conducted online so that students can vote from wherever they are.
Since elections were announced, students vying began working on their online presence, by creating WhatsApp groups and urging supporters to join. Currently, a student at Daystar right now, could be a participant in at least three different campaign groups.
Unsurprisingly, these groups also include the opposition and their supporters, who in most cases, are among the first few to join the groups when created. According to reports, the purpose of this is to spy on the competitor or try to lure their supporters to join the opposing team.
Candidates have also resorted to creating posters that contain their profile and manifestos, to share widely online. Moreover, a few campaign videos have also been posted on various groups and platforms.
Some candidates have pointed out that online campaigning has birthed cyberbullying and down talking in the campaign groups, and this has become a concern.
“Cyberbullying and keyboard warriors are a nuisance as some people always critic everything one does, but I guess that comes with leadership,” said Ian Agina, a DUSA presidential candidate.
Others however have embraced the challenge of online campaigning, despite its many shortcomings.
“This is my first time to be in politics so it has been a challenge, but I am enjoying the ride,” said Aaron Kituku, a student eyeing a seat at the Congress. “It has been a wonderful experience and a new thing for me. I’m just flowing with everything.”
Students have however pointed out that the elections have lost their vigor and are dull compared to those of other years. This could be due to the fact that the final list of approved applicants has not been shared yet, therefore candidates are reluctant to go all in while campaigning.
Previously, during election period, the campuses would be filled with posters and banners of different teams, as well as rallies here and there. For example, in the main campus, there would be times whereby candidates would campaign to students at the cafeteria during meal times.
Moreover, the PAC grounds were dressed in huge banners that had pictures of candidates and their manifestos.
There would also be presidential debates held on the campuses that caused a lot of excitement among students, making the whole experience memorable.
Due to lack of elections for four years in the University, some students have graduated or are yet to graduate, without ever witnessing a physical election in Daystar. Moreover, others who have had interest in vying previously, can no longer do so since their time in the university is up.
The postponement of student elections was as a result of a strike that occurred in 2017, against poor management of the university. For a while now, the school has operated without a student body and this left many grievances unmet.
Fortunately, these grievances have made great campaign strategies for this semester’s aspiring candidates.
The news of the elections was welcomed excitedly as it signified a return to normalcy in terms of university life and campus affairs.
The elections are scheduled to take place on the 11th week of this semester, following amendments to have them earlier in order to accommodate the new trimester calendar.