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5 major issues stirring unrests in Kenyan universities

By Innocent Tsalwa | October 27th 2016

Students in universities across the country have been involved in a number of riots over a number of issues. Most pressing issues that provoke the riots are shared by almost all students in the universities.

The most recent incident is when Kisii University students went on rampage and the main campus shut down after their management introduced a new system of fee payment. The students seemed to have not welcomed the move in which they claimed was imposed on them without prior consultations.

Here are some of the main concerns that result into unrest in the universities in Kenya:

Lack of dialogue:

University students go on rampage if negotiations between them and their managements do not bear fruits. This happens especially when stringent rules are implemented on them without their participation. In some occasions, student leaders are blamed for colluding with managements to pass such rules that seem unaccommodating to the affected population. 

Delay of HELB disbursement:

Varsity students rely on Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) for paying tuition fees as well as their own upkeep in campus. When the loans body delays in disbursing the funds, it triggers demonstrations. University of Nairobi students and from other campuses in Nairobi for instance, have been reported many times going to Anniversary towers where the HELB offices are located to demand for the same. 


Since most universities face shortage in accommodation spaces, a number of students reside off campus. However, there are many cases of insecurity where students are robbed even at gunpoint while others stabbed. Therefore, students demonstrate over insecurity in their residential places blaming their universities of inadequate accommodation and uncaring of students’ safety.

Heavy fee levies

Masinde Muliro University (MMUST) students lately demonstrated against increased examination fee after management failed to listen to their plea. This is also common to many universities who want to meet their financial needs in terms of human resource planning and infrastructural development.

Ethnicity and Interference of student elections:

Recently, Maseno students rioted over what they claimed police destructed their election campaigns leading to deaths of two students. Some universities administrations are claimed by students to contribute in determining who to win elections. As a result, rigging leads to riots.

These among many other factors, are the main reasons contributing to riots in the Kenyan universities

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