NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 21 – University students on Saturday threatened to stage a strike on all universities to force the government to address a myriad of issues affecting them.,
Student leaders from both public and private universities under the National Students Leaders Forum (NSLF) told a press conference that they would mobilise students and all youth in the country to a week of peaceful demonstrations from May 10 to 16.
Egerton University NSLF Chairman Mohammed Yusuf said the body had resorted to the move after attempts to address their grievances with the Minister for Higher Education Science and Technology and the various university administrations bore no fruits.
“We actually looked at the very fundamental problems facing us, you can never call for a dialogue with the university administration at one time and they give you a listening; they will just send you to the Dean of Student’s office, what can you do from there……nothing,” Mr Yusuf said.
Among the grievances the students are airing, include a shortage of subsidized food in the institutions, alleged misappropriation of funds and a proposed school fees increment. They also want the Higher Education Loans Board to increase the provision of loans from the current Sh40,000 to Sh100,000.
A representative of Moi University Michael Owuor said the university had been experiencing a food shortage in the last three weeks.
“We go to the mess and when just about 50 students have taken their food we are told that it’s finished,” Mr Owuor said.
“If this is not as a result of misappropriation of funds what is it?” he paused. “It’s not possible for people to study if they do not have food in their stomachs!”
The student body is warning of more student unrests across the country unless the issues raised are addressed.
“The issues we are raising are common to all universities in the country and if they are not tackled by the relevant ministries and the government, students will continue going on the rampage day after day,” another Egerton representative George Omondi said.
Two weeks ago, Nairobi University students attempted a peaceful demonstration to protest the killing of a colleague but it ended up in chaos after some students went on a looting spree on the streets.