, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 6 – University of Nairobi Vice Chancellor Prof Peter Mbithi has refuted claims that some students were raped and other seriously injured by security apparatus during the recent protests over disputed SONU elections.
Mbithi says only a few students suffered soft tissue injuries and have already been treated and discharged from the hospital.
“No life was lost, no serious injuries…as a Vice Chancellor, I have also not received any rape case,” he said while adding that police did not invade the halls of residence within the University.
The protest resulted from a SONU election that saw the re-election of Babu Owino as the Chairman.
Aggrieved students claim that the election was marred by malpractices.
“I have ordered a thorough audit of SONU and review of its electoral process,” the VC told journalists during a briefing at his office on Wednesday.
Mbithi said already an audit is being carried out to establish what exactly happened while saying the University Senate will be recommending changes to the union constitution, to seal any emerging loopholes.
“A senate committee comprising of senior staff with powers to incorporate other key stakeholders have been appointed,” he said.
“We regret that we had to close even the peaceful campuses and postpone our academic programs. As the management of the University, this incident provides us with an opportunity to reflect on some salient challenges and find solutions on how to deal with them.”
The University is also trying to authenticate the video circulating on social media, showing GSU officers whipping students.
The committee is set to provide its recommendations in 2 weeks time.
Students who destroyed property, he said will be identified and firm disciplinary actions taken against them.
Among the issues being addressed include existence of gangs within the school and peddling of drugs.
“There is growing tendency towards that…that’s why we needed an integrated action plan for student’s security and safety,” he said.
“We are right in the CBD and quite often we are infiltrated by all kinds of crime. We are committed to root out all these vices with other partners like NACADA.”
Several students who were found with weapons such as machetes and knives have been arrested and will be prosecuted.
One of the students was arrested on Monday when his vehicle was found with numerous weapons which he was trying to sneak into one of the hostels.
“Our work is to ensure law and order is maintained… we had information that some of the students were armed with crude weapons,” he stated.
The vehicle is currently at Parklands Police Station as police carry on with investigations.
Nairobi Police Chief Japheth Koome says the aim of the probe is to address the causes of such gangs and root out those behind them.
Contestants are often linked to goons during elections that they use to either intimidate their competitors or use them for protection.
Innocent students are always the victims of the atrocities caused by these gangs, who police say, are also used to coerce them into supporting their leaders.