12 arrested in Machakos University demos

12 Machakos University students were arrested on Thursday following demonstrations. Among the 12, 6 were students in the university while the rest were former students who decided to join them in the demos.

The students wanted the disbursement of  Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) loans to be completed in 24 hours failure to which the demos would continue.

Police officers barricaded the main Machakos road to bar the students from causing chaos to roads and destroying property.

No injuries or deaths were reported during the protests. No properties were destroyed also despite the police manning the protesters and dispersing using teargas and canisters.

Emmanuel Okanda, the Machakos sub-county commander said that the arrested students were active participators of the demonstrations.

“The twelve were all together during the demos,” Okanda said.

The student leader of the Machakos University, Ian Kibet, complained that the institution opened two months ago, but the government has reportedly not disbursed the said funds, meant for school fees and upkeep, to the bank accounts of qualified students.

The lack of money has made it difficult for the students to maintain their lifestyles in the institution according to Ian Kibet.

“We are here as the students of Machakos University to demand for what we were promised by the government. The demos will continue if they don’t do so immediately,” he said.

The deputy student leader stamped the complains by saying that there are students who were going to miss exams due to lack of fees promised by the government.

This incident happens barely a year since the same students from Machakos University protested against high insecurity that was experiences in the surrounding areas which subjected many of the students to deaths.

The incident resulted to the death of several students and a police officer.

The vice chancellor of the school, Lucy Irungu, was forced to close the school to avoid more chaos from the students who protested in rage since some of the comrades were murdered due to the insecurity. A memo that was dated 7th December 2022 was issued to notify the closure of the school.

“Due to the evolving insecurity situation around the university and the ongoing students’ demonstrations, a special meeting convened on December 7, 2022, resolved that in the interest of the security of staff and students, the university be closed with immediate effect,” part of the memo read.

The cabinet secretary of Education has promised that the disbursement of the funds will happen next week where all registered first year student will receive the money. He clarified that the processing of the loans has been finalized hence awaiting to be released.

“Consequently, the Ministry wishes to inform successful applicants that the funds will be disbursed to their respective universities and student accounts starting Tuesday, November 7, 2023,” Machogu said.

The CS added that the students expected to receive these funds should ensure their bank details, as provided in their applications are correct and up to date.


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