NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 11 – German Ambassador Walter Lindner has termed Tuesday’s demonstrations by University of Nairobi students ‘a milestone in democracy’.
He pointed out that apart from allowing them to exercise their freedom of expression, it enabled them to have a say in the running of national affairs.
The German envoy said the protests – which remained largely peaceful until late afternoon when chaos erupted – had set a precedent and lauded the police for providing security throughout the march.
“The police acted wisely and very well yesterday. They were on horseback and accompanying the students like friends,” he observed. “The policeman is a friend and helper of the people and I think that is very good.”
Mr Lindner however called on students leaders to put in place mechanisms that would reduce incidents of hooliganism during such protests.
“I think it was a very good demonstration yesterday except that some of the students used it to loot and this is harming the interests of the students,” he said.
The demonstration by students turned chaotic with looting, vandalism and other forms of destruction that occurred late in the afternoon.
The students had earlier held a peaceful march through city streets before the protest degenerated into a violent spree, prompting police who had been keeping watch, to fire teargas canisters at them.
It all started at about 4 pm on Tuesday, when a group of students began stoning motorists on Koinange Street, looted food kiosks and bars.
They hijacked five trailers and a fuel tanker which they used to block the Uhuru Highway/University Way roundabout, paralysing transport in and out of the city centre.
The German envoy also welcomed the enlisting of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents to help in the investigation of the killing of Oscar Foundation founder Kamau King’ara and his Project Officer Paul Oulu, which prompted Tuesday’s demonstration.
He said the assistance of the FBI would not violate the sovereignty of the country, but would supplement the work done by local security agents.
He said that it would also ensure a speedy conclusion of the investigation into the killings.
“It’s a good idea that Michael Ranneberger has offered the FBI assistance and that the Prime Minister has accepted,” he said.
“Of course the Kenyan agents are good but if a helping hand is offered, then I think that it is a very good idea to invite them,” he added.
He was speaking to Capital Newsbeat where he roundly condemned the killing of the two Oscar foundation members.
“The two Killings were completely unacceptable… to kill these two people in broad daylight like Bony and Clyde in Chicago is just unacceptable,” he said.