Kenya's Most Authoritative Political Newspaper

Citizen Weekly

Tuesday, 24 March 2015


A university vice-chancellor was Tuesday asked to explain to the National Assembly’s Education Committee why Sh8 million was collected from students to buy a new vehicle, when it could have repaired for Sh800,000 the one they had damaged.
Prof Festus Kaberia, of Multimedia University in Nairobi, could not justify the criteria used to fine the students, who went on strike on February 8.
He said they had been surcharged Sh13 million for the destruction of property and loss of business to the institution’s three-star hotel, with Sh8 million going towards the new vehicle.
“They destroyed the vehicle completely and plucked off parts of it. It was written off as it was destroyed about 50 per cent. Insurance could not pay and that is why we surcharged such a huge amount of money,” the VC said.
However, a picture of the vandalised Toyota Prado vehicle only shows shattered windows.
Committee vice-chairman Julius Melly directed the VC to review the charges, saying they were unacceptable and unreasonable.
“We are asking you and the university council to review the charges. Blanket punishment is not good. We do not want a situation where those who were not involved get punished,” said Mr Melly.
“I’ve never seen students punished for loss of business during a strike. It’s is unfair,” he said.
Molo MP Jacob Macharia asked why management had not sought compensation from insurance.
Shinyalu MP Silverse Anami said learning institutions should identify and punish only those who destroy property, while Elgeyo-Marakwet’s Susan Chebet said it was unfair as the vehicle could have been repaired at a cost of Sh800,000. The 3,837 students resumed learning three weeks ago after each paid Sh3,646.
Dr Chebet said university management should look at ways of solving such issues amicably without paralyzing learning and creating more conflicts through such punishment.
The university which resumed learning three weeks ago whas 3,837 students. Each student paid Sh3,646 for the destruction.
Prof Kaberia said the cause of the strike was power blackout which denied the students an opportunity to watch a soccer match between Manchester United and West Ham and final of Africa Cup of Nations.
He said the six students who were identified as key suspects were suspended and those who were found guilty were punished in accordance with the university regulations.
Prof Kaberia added that other cause of the strike were overstretched accommodation facilities, inadequate transport to cope with students demand, student politics among others.
He said the university management had addressed all concern raised by the students including improving power supply to the institution.