Students of Kenyatta University have disrupted learning activities at the institution and the flow of traffic along Thika Superhighway after a planned ‘peaceful’ demonstration turned chaotic.
It all started at 10 am when Kenyatta University Students Association (Kusa) president Joshua Ayika mobilized students at the university’s shopping centre, where he addressed them over a range of complaints against the administration, before leading them in disrupting classes which were in progress.
Curiously, it appeared there were sharp divisions within the student leadership with Ayika being the only Kusa official who addressed the students.
The students engaged the police in running battles within the school, before getting out of the school and blocking the busy Thika Superhighway.
Police responded with teargas to disperse the angry students as they tried to restore calm at the institution and the adjacent areas.
However, things only got worse inside and outside the university.
Whereas the students haven’t destroyed school property, there is tension within the school as students and the administration have been left wondering what will happen tonight if the situation is not arrested.
CALL FOR DEMO
Over the weekend, the university’s student leadership, through Ayika, called for peaceful demonstrations and boycott of classes over a litany of accusation against the institution’s management.
Some of the issues he raised in a memo calling for the protests include the administration’s alleged refusal to extend fee payment, suspension of students and student leaders on petty basis, a charge on supplementary exams at the university and the sacking of more than 700 casual workers without notice.
The students are also accusing the university’s administration of forcing them to use a footbridge that was constructed within the school, an increment of graduation fee from Sh 3,500 to Sh 6,000 without the student body being informed and the students school IDs not being replaced even after the students pay the required fees.
However, the circulated memo didn’t have the signature of Kusa secretary general, Fred Changulo, who later sent out another memo asking students to ignore the calls for protests.
Additionally, the president’s memo was punctuated with errors to the point that the date of the strike was on a date that had already passed.
The university’s Christian Union had also sent out a memo calling for peace among the students.
Surprisingly, whereas Ayika called for peaceful demonstrations, he urged students to wear light shoes, a subtle indication that he expected running battles with the authorities.
The school’s administration responded swiftly to avert the impending crisis by sending a memo in response to the school’s president’s demands.
The administration stated that the fee payment deadline had been extended and that the issues raised had not been forwarded to the management.
The administration also stated that the issues raised were similar to those presented before and had already been addressed. The administration also state that it had never refused to meet with student leaders to discuss issues affecting students.