Violent clashes between Riot Police and Kenyatta University students supporting the election of Sammy Owino as President of Kenyatta University Students’ Association (KUSA) Wednesday night caused a major snarl up on the Thika Superhighway as some students engaged police in running battles.
Supporters of Sammy Owino, a candidate who had been barred by the university administration from vying, rallied to demand that he be allowed to vie for the position. Administration police arrested 18 students during the chaotic protest. Armed with stones to protect against Police, the protesters occupied Thika road and the university’s compound and defended their position by fighting the police. The crowd was still swelling late Wednesday night.
“Whoever loves Kenyatta University should come and join us. This is for the future of Hong Kong,” one of the protesters told Capital Campus.
Owino was accused of starting riots in Ruiru Campus and therefore barred from vying on grounds of indiscipline and violation of the Universities regulations.
Other students took to social media with Babu Owino, the President of Students’ Organization of Nairobi University (SONU), demanding that Kenyatta University Vice Chancellor, Professor Olive Mugenda resigns while Jim Aketch, SONU official, demanding that the VC “should stop meddling in students’ politics and allow them (students) to exercise their democratic rights.
But the University refused to allow Sammy Owino into the race even as the students continued to riot. A first year student at the university was seen carrying posters bearing the picture of Owino as the “students’ President”.
This demonstration, which drew hundreds of protesters, has been one of the most tenacious acts of civil disobedience by students seen at the university in recent times.
Thika road was blocked as students burnt power transformers, destroyed hostels and damaged property whose value is unknown. Police were not able to handle the situation immediately and appeared overwhelmed by the students before reinforcements were called in.
When capital campus visited the university on Thursday morning, there was still tension as riot police were deployed at every corner of the institution.
Most of the students who went to vote for the various positions did not vote for the position of KUSA President.
“We can’t vote for a person who has been imposed on us. This is utter violation of our human rights and is not in the spirit and letter of the constitution,” Brian Keino told Capital Campus.
“Many of us are not going to vote for the administration’s favorite candidate.
There was no statement from the University Administration nor KUSA but the Police said those arrested would be interrogated before further action is taken