KU shut again, barely 3 days after opening

March 30, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 30 – Kenyatta University was closed indefinitely on Monday morning following night long students’ riots, barely three days after it had re-opened.

Students reported back to the institution on Friday but went on the rampage on Sunday night destroying college property of unknown value and paralysing transport on the busy Thika-Nairobi Highway.

A student told Capital News that a notice posted in the institution as early as 5am had given them up to 7am to vacate.
On learning of the closure the students are said to have set ablaze a section of a complex in the Ruiru campus. Some students are said to have refused to vacate the institution forcing anti-riot police to forcefully evict them.

"The strike went on into the night but at around 1am the rain made things calm down. The police came and kept on chasing the students around but they outsmarted them," the student who did not want to be named for fear of victimisation said.

 "The strike had started at around 7pm last night."

The students are against a decision to suspend their colleagues including union leaders for organising an earlier protest two weeks ago.

 The students were also demanding the postponement of examinations scheduled to start on Monday. The University re-opened the institution on Friday, 10 days after the initial closure following the earlier strike. The students were then protesting the Institution’s decision to bar those who had not paid school fees from sitting for exams.

The institution had charged the students Sh1,000 for minor damages incurred during their first strike. A section of Kenyatta University Students Association (KUSA) had threatened to challenge the reopening of the institution in court.

The institution has well over 15,000 students.  Its Vice Chancellor Olive Mugenda has been credited with rebuilding the image of the institution. Some reports had earlier in the month indicated that the university had been named the best performing parastatal last year in ratings that are yet to be made public.

Meanwhile, A meeting between the Australian Governor-General Quentin Alice Louise Bryce and Kenya University Vice Chancellor Professor Olive Mugendi was on Monday relocated to a city hotel following the disturbances.

Kenyatta University has been a leader in women empowerment and has produced the highest number of women leaders in both the private and public sectors.

The governor general was expected to address prominent Kenyan women leaders including Cabinet Ministers Charity Ngilu, Sally Kosgei, Martha Karua and the Prime Minister’s wife Ida Odinga.


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