Garissa University smarts from terror attack, conduct graduations

Education CS Ezekiel  Machogu during Garissa University's 4th Graduation in Garissa. [Abdimalik Hajir, Standard]

In a show of resilience in the face of terror attack, Garissa University conducted its fourth graduation on Thursday.

The ceremony was presided by Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu and his defence counterpart Aden Duale.

Leaders commended the university stakeholders for their push for excellence even after they were hit by the worst terror attack.

On April 2, 2015, four armed terrorists stormed the only higher learning institution in North Eastern killing 148 people, mostly students.

Duale recalled the events of the attack and said that the power of the pen had finally won against the gun.

He said never again will terrorists be allowed to commit such heinous crimes.

Defence Cabinet Secretary  Aden Duale, Garissa Deputy Governor Abdi Dagane and other leaders during Garissa University Graduation. [Abdimalik Hajir, Standard]

“The militants with their evil spirit were hell bent on making sure that this institution does not rise again, but thank God and with our resilience, we are here today celebrating the graduation ceremony of 482 students among them a PhD graduate,” said Duale.

Duale said that the government was determined to completely eradicate Al Shabaab militants whose sole aim was to cripple all social amenities.

“I am standing here as the CS Defense and I want to directly face the militants and tell them that we are coming for you. We will use our land forces, navy, air force and special forces to hunt you down both in Kenya and inside Somalia," he said.

Duale said the government was working closely with its partners and allies who have troops in Somalia, the sole aim being to completely finish the group.

He urged residents to stand up and together fight the rag tag militants saying that security cannot be left to the government firing a warning shot to the local al Shabaab sympathizers

“I want to say clearly that we have enough human intelligence and will monitor every communication especially those locals collaborating with our enemy. And the moment you finish with that call we are with you," he said.

Duale regretted that the militants had resorted to planting explosives on the roadside targeting vehicles of security officers and other public vehicles plying different routes.

He termed the terrorists as cowards who fear challenging security officers.

Machogu said that the government will continue supporting university education urging the community to guard the university.

“Having a university in your county is a major achievement. Kindly the people of Garissa and Northeastern in general, protect this university by all standards.  Because in the unfortunate event, you lose it, getting it back is not easy,” said Machogu.

Machogu said that the presidential working party on education reforms will soon be handing its report to the president.

He said that the issue of having a homegrown solution to the teacher’s crisis in Northeastern has been addressed in the report.

“I wish to assure you that as a Ministry, we will continue to support the university sub-sector. We are dedicated to providing the necessary resources, creating an enabling environment, and facilitating partnerships to ensure that universities thrive and fulfil their mission of knowledge dissemination, skill development, and societal transformation,” Machogu said.

Local leaders raised concerns over the mass exodus of teachers from the region under the pretext of security.

Garissa Deputy Governor Abdi Dagane noted that the region has been turned into a recruiting bureau with teachers demanding transfers immediately, they secure employment with the Teachers Service Commission.

Dagane claimed that this happened when private schools are being taught by non-locals with security issues.

“By transferring teachers to other parts of the country means we are succumbing to al-shabab tricks, which should not be the case. We must holistically fight this enemy,” Dagane said.

Other leaders present were the chair of the National Assembly Education Committee Julius Melly, MPs Dekow Mohamed [Garissa Township] Aden Daud [Wajir East], Salah Yakub [Fafi] Abdi Ali [Ijara] Dick Maungu[Luanda], Ali Haji [Elwak], and Garissa Woman Representative Udgoon Siyad.