On 29th March 2013 an indelible mark of history was made at Egerton University – Njoro Campus. A history that will take time – or forever – to be matched or forgotten. That kind of history that Egertonians would live to cherish. A positive history to any institution grappling with the question of whether or not to allow freedom of expression among students.
Going through the proposed SUEU Constitution, I can’t help but smile at the good future awaiting Egertonians if and when it’s approved. I hope that Kivondo and team are not the only best student leaders that Egertonians will ever have. They led the revolution that was really needed and did so in the best way ever – according to my standards.
It all started when one of the students residing off-campus was killed having been accused of theft. The forth year student already with a first class of 76 points was just an isolated case in many cases involving ‘Diaspora’ students. This blog is about MY PERSPECTIVE …and that’s what I give.
I believe that the demonstration by students at Egerton was not because William Areba was beaten to death. It was about the a million and one problems facing nonresident students alias Diaspora students. The problems that range from poor sanitation around the rental hostels, insecurity, water problems that push the students into using water from the Ndarugo River. Insecurity is rife with rape cases and theft leading the way. Whether committed by villagers neighboring the school or the students themselves is a story for another day and post.
The university administration has maintained a spectator’s approach to these problems facing the students. The University medical facility has had it’s share of blames for the deaths of students. Like a dying ear, they have heard none of the students’ cries for improved services.
There are enough hostels in the University that could accommodate half of the students staying off-campus. The problem is all of them are stalled. Whether it’s poor management practises, poor planning or swindling of construction funds; I am not in a position to tell. The Vice Chancellor got enough boos during this year’s Culture Week celebration even though he promised to complete the stalled hostels; a promise that he is slowly but surely keeping.
William’s death was not only a litmus test to the University’s administration but also to the Student leaders and the Student body at large. With a tense mood around campus and a dark cloud of uncertainty hovering above the institution, everybody’s steps was under scrutiny. The Student leaders pulled off fairly well and ensured that they remained on the right side of the law. Similarly, guided by passed experiences, students pulled a shocker at every doubting Thomas and restrained themselves from destroying anything within campus.
On the other hand, for the University Administration, nothing was unique about the demonstration. They were ready with their vacation notice. Students were required to vacate school by 5:30pm on the same day. The heavens opened up and it seemed like a cleansing rite to the students after the demonstration. I wish the school admin had fallen into sync with the wave of change within the students body!
The question now begs: will the students be asked to pay ‘damages fee’? If yes, what for? Nothing was destroyed within the precincts of the university. This is a delicate balancing scenario for the University’s governing body. It demands for their wisdom and exercise of good will for the students.
The altercation between the students, villagers and the police at the gate that left one student injured was not anticipated. It was to be a peaceful demonstration but the hands of hooligans could not be contained. The more reason why nonresident students need a representation in SUEU. Kivondo and group still has a lot of meat on their plates to finish.
Starting with the reconciliation of the students and the neighboring communities to amending the constitution to allow a representation of nonresident students. Reconciliation is paramount since students residing at the Main Gate’s hostels have already started receiving threats from the community members. .
As William’s body is laid to rest, he will forever be remembered to have stalked the embers of a destruction-free demonstration. Whether he was guilty of the crime for which he died is the duty of God to determine. May he be judged according to his deeds by his maker.