OPINION: The Suspension of Students

Written by on April 28, 2019

We are living in an era during which mankind, through ceaseless struggle, has been rewarded with two significant gifts – the freedom of expression and the freedom of assembly. These two offsprings of mankind’s struggle, if subjected to any form of curtailment, would mean that the sacrifices made by our forebears to bring them into existence were utterly dispensable. Our great great grandfathers realised that a man denied freedom of expression and assembly is a man relegated to the status of things – a “thingified” human being so to speak.

However, just like the previous ages, we have in our midst, certain individuals who hitherto, believe that their granaries and their silos and their warehouses cannot be complete without being filled with tonnes of sacks of [freedom] drawn from the oppressed and the downtrodden. Out of these storage facilities, they decide the amount of freedom to dispatch to the oppressed and what to keep in the stores. Through this blatant mischief, they have deliberately made this precious commodity, a rare one in the market of our free world. In other words, we have more surplus freedom in the stores than we have in the market.

We have these “merchants of freedom” in our institutions of higher learning, in governments and in any such places where this form of injustice manifests itself. I would wish to confine my concern only to our institutions of higher learning with much emphasis on the University of Nairobi.

There is no gainsaying of the fact that UoN has a clique of people (officers) who behave as if they’re behemoths – all powerful! Their expressions are endowed with words of finality and their decisions are made in absurdity. This means that if you dare them, then you meet their wrath affront without any tad of getting heard.

You get your A’s at high school level then you join the university to study Law, philosophy or Politics and when you rise and raise your voices against atrocities of the day, like Kwame Nkrumah or Nelson Mandela or Steve Biko or Dr Martin Luther King Jr or Rosa Parks or Malcolm X or Mohandas K Gandhi did, you’re told to zip up your lips or risk being subjected to crippling and intense psychological torture – the so-called suspension or expulsion! My friends, the days when this method of silencing dissenters was efficient are resting next to where the remains of dinosaurs are naturally preserved. And let me tell you, ladies and gentlemen, you must never allow yourself to be suspended from the University on flimsy grounds such as opening a gate and making your steps into the varsity’s premises.

What if the security guards are not around? Do you wait for them to come from their whereabouts in order to open for you the gate? From my understanding, as long as you’re a student of any given university, you have all the rights to access the varsity’s facilities at whim without any impediment(s).

Secondly, let me use this analogy to exemplify my position: if you are caught in the act of impregnating a minor with her consent and you’re distracted from committing such an act, there will be no evidence to be charged with before a legally constituted court of justice, that you impregnated a minor unless she becomes pregnant via Holy Spirit like Mary mother of Jesus. But even if the latter scenario proves possible, it will be accorded a special hearing because such incidences can only be imagined/heard than seen.

In this regard, no one should suspend you from the University because you attempted to set ablaze, a building or a facility. What if this case is developed on a sentimental ground? What if the accuser is motivated by certain intrinsic elements of dislike towards the accused? I’ve personally read the letter addressed to the alleged suspended students. The accusations are actually below mine expectations.

For instance, I wanted to read something like, “…you’re hereby suspended from the University for killing/slapping/assaulting/clobbering/ the security guards as well as setting ablaze the SWA offices to ashes.” Unquote. This would sound sufficing to our ears and appealing to our eyes and had that been the case, we would only wish our brothers’ success in their legal battle.

My advice to those caught in these petty and somehow choreographed accusations is to know that the moment you decide to enter into a physical fight with a lion, a scratch of a claw on your cheek should not bear any sense of discouragement; it should be a motivational factor in lieu. And as you indulge in this duel, remember these possibilities: to kill the lion or to be killed by it. Many have killed lions right from the days of Samson – courtesy of Biblical allusion. He grabbed the lion by its jaws thereby killing it on the spot. Lions to have killed many – you must be amongst them not!

The future remains luminous.
by Owiti Owayo.

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