Masinde Muliro University closed indefinitely after students' riot

Police at Masinde Muliro University in Kakamega town during student demonstration against the school management on Oct 5th, 2016. The protest was caused by what they termed as rise in examination fee from 1200 to 4200. Police manged to contain the situation. PHOTO: Chrispen Sechere.

Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST) main campus in Kakamega has been closed indefinitely after students went on rampage.

Learning at the institution had stopped from Monday as students spent much of their time sitting outside classes in protest over increased examination fee.

On Wednesday evening, students rioted to express their anger after the management of the university allegedly failed to listen to their plea to lower down the examination fee.

A contingent of anti-riot police unit was deployed to restore order. Yesterday morning, the university senate agreed to close the university until further notice.

"It has been noted that the disruption of normal running of the university has been persistent. Students and lecturers have been ejected from lecture rooms for a third day and some university property have been destroyed by some groups of students. This goes against the university rules and regulations governing students discipline," the notice read in part.

It continued, "The university senate sitting on 5th of October and invoking clause 13 in the student handbook has resolved to close the university to all undergraduate students in the main campus. The concerned students are asked to stay away from the university as from 7am of 6th October until further notice."

The government had earlier asked all public universities to look for ways of sustaining themselves. Efforts to reach the management to establish whether this was the reason for the hike of some fees were futile. All subsequent calls went unanswered neither did they respond to short texts.

The secretary general of Masinde Muliro University Students Organisation, David Kemboi lamented that examination fee had increased from Sh1, 200 to Sh4, 200 per academic year.

He also said library fee shot from Sh3, 000 to Sh5, 000. Kemboi wondered why the university had to be closed over issues that could be solved through dialogue between the management and students.

Students complained that leadership of the university administration had ignored their organisation and its leadership.

The agitated students also cited that school fees for academic year had increased from Sh33, 000 to Sh46, 000 for Joint Admission Board students.

Students further complained that their halls of residence was raised from previous Sh10, 000 per academic year to Sh16, 000.

The Secretary General observed that attempt to engage the management and listen to the concerns of the students have always hit a snag.

The learners also complained that despite the huge amount of cash the university has imposed to them, there was no substantial changes.

"There is no water in halls of residence, sanitation is poor and yet we are paying highest accommodation fees," he said

In the notice, the university senate noted that the situation at the facility has been fragile as students and lecturers have been ejected out of lecture rooms.

Masinde Muliro University in the recent past has faced myriad of challenges including mass transfer of lecturers to other varsities and leadership wrangles among the top brass leaders. Workers have also complained about their unpaid dues.