The Kisumu-Busia Highway was blocked and bonfires lit for the better part of the morning by the rioting students. Businesses were closed as some of the rioters engaged in looting and vandalizing the stalls and kiosks.
Budalangi MP, Ababu Namwamba who happened to be passing by in the morning stopped and addressed the students at College Campus.
“It is important that amicable solutions are found to deal with the situation. Meanwhile, behave maturely as the options are sought,” said Hon Namwamba trying to calm down the students.
Efforts by both the administration and the Students Organization of Maseno University (SOMU) leadership to calm the situation seemed futile as the riot continued early afternoon. Dr Erick Nyambedha, the Director of Students Welfare Services, urged for restrain even as long-term solutions were being explored to address the issue.
“I would not wish that we go home because of this issue. I have talked to the VC and he has asked us to calm down in order to solve this matter. He is away but will be available to address us in the afternoon,” the SOMU President, Charles Juma told the enraged crowd.
Business people were left counting their losses, as a lorry that had been parked near the college gate was set ablaze and a nearby rice depot looted among other shops and kiosks.
Many students have blamed the situation on the administration that they say despite knowing very well the limited resources, had gone ahead and admitted over 3000 first year students. This has forced a majority of them to seek accommodation outside campus, thus giving rise to insecurity.
“We need solutions, not cheap talk. Last year it was the same and the admin promised to come up with solutions which we have never felt or heard,” lamented a source who sought anonymity.
In September last year, there was a similar unrest at the varsity over rising levels of insecurity in the area and the administration led by the Vice Chancellor, Prof Dominic Makawiti had promised to come up with lasting solutions.
By Steve Biko Abuya