, NAIROBI, Kenya, April 4 – Police on Monday fired in the air and lobbed teargas to disperse rioting students at the University of Nairobi who were protesting alleged rigging of elections.
The students hurled stones at motorists destroying many vehicles on University Way, Uhuru Highway and State House Road but no major casualties were reported.
“Comrades, on Friday, we voted unanimously for one Mike Jacobs. Our vote was taken away from us by goons and we will not allow this to happen; we will fight it to the end,” one of the students said.
The students also set ablaze the offices of their union leaders located within the campus, while claiming that incumbent chairman Babu Owino was rigged in.
Owino however maintained that he won fairly and there was no foul play in the polls.
“Mike was not even initially in the race for the chairmanship. He came only three weeks to the elections. Mike never even campaigned in any campus apart from main campus where he won with a very slight margin of votes,” he stated.
“Tomorrow if I want to take my people to celebrate my victory in the streets I will do so but we do not have to do so. The University of Nairobi has 84,000 students. Only less than 300 students were demonstrating. Does it show that the UoN students did not accept Babu?”
Tension remained high around the campus and police urged motorists to use alternative routes.
On Saturday, more than 30 University of Nairobi students were arrested after they turned violent during a protest against Owino’s re-election.
The students claim that the election was marred by malpractices with some accusing Owino of deploying dictatorial tendencies to remain at the helm.
Police were deployed to restore calm inside the main campus and along the University Way where the students were protesting.
The protests occurred after Owino was sworn in as the chairman of the powerful student’s organisation.
Owino’s long service at the student organisation has attracted criticism.