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Violence not best way to resolve disputes

By The Standard | Apr 6th 2016 | 2 min read

The Students Organisation of Nairobi University (Sonu), held its elections last Friday. In an event that turned chaotic shortly after the final results were announced, Babu Owino was declared chairman, having garnered 18,000 votes against Mr Mike Jacobs' 3,000.

Those allied to the losing side rejected the results. They then took to the streets and caused mayhem. It is unfortunate that the students chose to vent their anger and frustrations on innocent motorists and pedestrians in the vicinity of the university minding their own business.

Coming from those in whom parents, society and the Government have invested a lot in terms of resources, such behaviour is unacceptable. We expect better from university students who must set standards for those aspiring to make it to the apex of academia.

There are mechanisms for resolving disputes which, clearly, the students did not resort to. While the attitude of the students is a reflection of the little value society attaches to dialogue and amicably sorting out any differences, violence does not offer a solution to the problems that instigated it in the first place. For instance, what did the students achieve by stoning pedestrians and motorists and burning property including their hostels and Sonu office?

The university’s administration insists the elections were fair, but then there are unverified claims that Mr Owino's win was not clean. Those claims should be investigated while those protesting the results should lodge an appeal. There is nothing to be achieved through violence.

In the same breath, the barbarism exhibited by the police in a video clip showing them whipping university students must also be condemned. Law enforcers cannot be allowed to break the law in their line of duty. The Inspector General of Police must get to the bottom of the incident and those officers found culpable severely punished.

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