Strikes perilous, Kenyan students told

May 18, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 18 – University students are being warned that involving themselves in strikes will jeopardise their future job prospects.

Strathmore University Director of Academic Research James McFie pointed out that many employers do not take in graduates from institutions known for closing down due to strikes since the damage caused by rioting students negatively impacts their businesses. 

“Students do not realise that they are their own worst enemies. I have spoken to a number of employers who have said that they do not want to employ people from certain institutions,” he stated.

Students at the University of Nairobi (UoN) have been on the rampage since Friday after accusing the administration of rigging in a candidate during this year\’s students\’ elections.

He stated that a prevalence of strikes by certain institutions changes the perception of a prospective employer to graduates from such institutions.

“Most employers believe that a person who is going to burn a car, break windscreens and cause destruction should not be on their premises,” Mr McFie explained.

He called on the students to set a precedent in conflict resolution by employing dialogue in all aspects.

“If you are a mature individual, you sit down, and solve the problem as mature person. If we think that the people at the University of Nairobi are our future leaders, then God help Kenya,” he stated.

“We are in for a dramatically awful time when those people become leaders,” he surmised.

His sentiments were echoed by a number of Nairobi residents.

Those interviewed by Capital News said the strike by the students cast them in a very bad light.

They advised that rather than using violence to resolve their issues, the students should pursue peaceful means.

“They should not break and damage property. There is always a way of dialogue,” stated Sammy Oloo, an accountant with a local firm.

“They should not put the ordinary Kenyans in danger by stoning their cars.  They should sit down with the administration and fellow students and see how they can resolve the issue,” he stated.

“Chaos is chaos and they will always bring damage. This will interrupt their learning and time at the University,” Millicent Onchari stated.

They also want the University\’s administration to quickly resolve the issue.

“They should have sat down with the university’s administration and sorted out the whole problem. That is the only way forward without causing loss,” Mr Oloo stated.

On Monday, three University of Nairobi students were charged with incitement to violence following the strikes.

Kimathi Nabea, Bernard Omondi and Alfred Mukiri however denied the charge before Principal Magistrate Grace Macharia.

Mr Kimathi was also separately charged with possessing a sword. The three students were released on a Sh30,000 cash bail.

Students from the University rioted over the weekend following disputed elections of their students’ organisation last week.  On Sunday, they set ablaze a saloon car on State House Road.

On Monday, Higher Education Minister William Ruto intervened in the dispute and opposed the decision by the University Council to disband the students’ union.

Addressing the media, Mr Ruto said that he had directed the University Council to furnish him with the steps they had taken to address the problem occasioned by alleged irregularities in the University of Nairobi Students Association (SONU) polls.

The Higher Education Minister also called for calm and asked the students to practice democracy during their polls.

The University Senate had on Saturday suspended SONU for one year. 

According to the resolutions posted on the University’s website, the Senate attributed its decision to the actions of irate students who rioted and destroyed university property.


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