Emeutes universitaires au Kenya mars 2009

290px-ke-map_fr1Three students shot in KU protests


30 mars 2009

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 30 – It’s now emerging that three students were shot, one of them seriously, during Sunday night’s violent protests at the Kenyatta University.

One of the students who sustained gunshot injuries in the neck was said to be in a critical condition on Monday evening.

Police confirmed the shooting of the three students and announced that investigations had been launched.

“It is too unfortunate that some students were shot. We are taking this matter very seriously. Investigations are underway,” Spokesman Erick Kiraithe said.

The students were admitted to the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH).

There were reports that some other students who sustained injuries other than gunshot wounds were taken to hospitals in Ruiru where many of them were treated and discharged.

“This is a serious issue because our officers are under strict instructions not to use live ammunition while quelling riots. We do not know who shot at the students,” he said.

Police investigators were dispatched to KNH on Monday where they held a brief discussion with the injured students and took their details.

Chaos broke out barely three days after the students had returned to campus after they were sent home last week following riots to protest numerous grievances, mainly an examination registration deadline.

They went on the rampage on Sunday night, setting ablaze two buildings and damaging other property before police were called in.

Eighty six students were arrested during the violent confrontations with police.

Of these, 45 were arraigned at the Thika Law courts on Monday while 41 were taken to the Makadara Law courts to face charges of arson and malicious damage.

Police said they were looking for some other students suspected to have organised Sunday night’s protests that culminated in the indefinite closure of the institution.

Last week, the University management suspended 35 students, including 12 officials of the students union who were accused of organizing the initial strike.

The 12 officials have now moved to court to challenge their suspension, saying it was unprocedural.

The leaders filed the application through lawyer Peter Kaluma and appeared before Justice George Dulu.

They said they were suspended through letters dated March 24 following demonstrations that led to the closure of the university.

On Monday, Kaluma told Justice Dulu that the students were suspended even before they could be given a fair hearing, contrary to the universities rules and regulations.

He argued that suspensions from the institution could only be ordered by the Senate through a disciplinary committee.

“The senate had not constituted the disciplinary committee that was supposed to hear allegations against students to determine any disciplinary action,” he said.

Mr Kaluma told the court that his clients had also been barred from entering the institution.  “The decision was based on extraneous considerations, was selective and arbitrary. It was unlawful, null and void,” he argued.

He claimed the students were only suspended because they are officials of the students body.

Separately, one of the students Jared Onyando has sued the institution after he was suspended early this year for allegedly taking photographs of the Vice Chancellor Professor Olive Mugenda and recording her speech without permission.

He was also accused of organising students’ demonstrations, making unreasonable noise in the campus and inviting the press to cover the protests.


KU closed again as students burn hostels

30 mars 2009

By Susan Anyangu and Wairimu Kamande

Kenya University has been closed indefinitely following nightlong student riots where they burned hostels and property of unknown value.

Police have moved in to put out the fire in the computer centre, students union offices and hostels.

The visiting Australian Governor General, Ms Quentin Bryce was exposed to the shame of student unrest. She was scheduled to visit the campus but the function was moved to a Nairobi Hotel.
The Prime Minister’s wife Ida Ondinga condemned the striking students for burning down facilities.
“The vice chancellor who was to be the hostess of this very important function was unavailable due to the chaos at the university. This is not a pleasant situation and I appeal to the students and youth all over the country to shun violence,” she said.

A visibly angry Ida added: “Thousands of young people are in school working hard to join these institutions. When you turn around and destroy these facilities, what are you thinking?

Forty-five students who were arrested last night have been charged. They appeared before the Thika Principal Magistrate Mr Anthony Kaniaru and denied burning a hostel at the University’s Ruiru campus.

They were released on Sh100,000 surety bond with an option of a Sh20,000 cash bail. The case will be heard†on May 29.

The institution opened on Friday after a two-week closure when students blocked the busy Nairobi-Thika highway and stoned motorists to protest the administration’s requirement that all students clear fees before sitting exams.

A circular posted on notice boards as early as 5:00am today notified students to vacate by 7:00am.

The university has since summoned 35 students to the disciplinary committee over similar riots a fortnight ago. Those found guilty face suspension of up to five years.

The former chairperson of the now dissolved Kenyatta University Students Association (Kusa), Mr Fred Kimaru, said students would not relent.

Kimaru said students were seeking a court order to stop university exams that were scheduled for Monday.

« The lecturers had not even finished the syllabus and students had no time to revise, » he said.

But the Vice Chancellor Prof Olive Mugenda said only a few students had failed to register and pay fees on time as per university rules.

« We cannot allow a few students to disrupt others who are ready to do the exams, » she said.

Students feared dead in KU riots

30 mars 2009

At least two Kenyatta University students are feared dead and several others injured following an all night riot at both the main and Ruiru campuses.

Separately forty five students have been arraigned in court over malicious damage to property during the riots, as 11 more moved to court, challenging the university’s decision to suspend them from the university two weeks ago.

One of the dead students is said to have drowned in a swimming pool at the Ruiru Campus while the other one died after succumbing to gunshot wounds at the campus.

The university administration called in anti riot police and GSU, to quell the riots that began at the university at about 8 pm, barely days after it was reopened following a two-week closure mid this month.

Three more students are nursing gun shot wounds at the Kenyatta Hospital.

The students were protesting a one thousand shillings fine that the university slapped on them for damage caused during the earlier strike and the suspension of over 35 students affiliated to the Kenyatta University Students Association.

The all-night long riots saw several buildings including the students’ center, computer lab and hostels set ablaze.

Forty five students from Kenyatta University Ruiru Campus were Monday morning arraigned in court charged with destroying university property.

They were charged that jointly with others not before court, they set fire to a hostel and store keeper’s office, the property of Ruiru Campus worth Ksh 500,000.

They denied the charge and were released on a cash bond of 100 thousand each and an alternative cash bail of 20 thousand shillings each.

Students who talked to the press alleged they were sexually and indecently assaulted by police officers, who also robbed them off their property.

And at the High Court 12 more students appeared before two separate judges over the decision by the university to suspend them.

Through their lawyer Peter Kaluma the students told justice George Dulu that they had been condemned before they were heard.

KENYA: Riot after murder of former student leaders


22 March 2009

Kenyan students rioted last week, demanding the resignation of the country’s police commissioner following the murder of two former student leaders in a suspected assassination by security agents. Outgoing chairman of Kenyatta University Students’ Association Martin KO Luther told University World News that the former students, who were shot dead in their car, had been involved in human rights work.

The students were Oscar Kamau Kingara and John Paul Oulo.

In the capital Nairobi, nearly 2,000 students demanded the resignation of Police Commissioner Hussein Ali amid suspicions the men had been murdered by police. The demonstrations degenerated into violence, leading to the stoning of police and ransacking of shops.

« The students were protesting against the murders of two former student leaders from the University of Nairobi. Students handed petitions to the police commissioner and the prime minister, » Luther said, adding that the demonstrators came from different institutions across the country.

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga formally asked the US government to send FBI officers to help local police investigate the shootings. Raila’s call has been slammed in some quarters of Kenyan society, with critics citing some of the FBI’s shortcomings.

The violence comes a year after the death of 1,300 people and displacement of more than 300,000 in ethnic and political violence following Kenya‘s disputed presidential elections. Calm only returned after the formation of a government of national unity between President Mwau Kibaki and Odinga.

One of the murdered students, Oscar Kingara, ran a non-government organisation, the Oscar Foundation Free Legal Aid Clinic. It recently published a report claiming that 8,040 young Kenyans had been executed or tortured to death since 2002 in a police crackdown on the Mungiki gang.

Last week, newspapers quoted UN investigator Philip Alston as saying suspicion was bound to fall on Kenya‘s police in the circumstances.

« It is extremely troubling when those working to defend human rights in Kenya can be assassinated in broad daylight in the middle of Nairobi, » Alston said. Last month, he released a report accusing Kenya‘s police of running death squads.

Since 2000, protests have not been as widespread in Kenya as they were in the 1980s and ’90s, mainly because of reforms initiated by the Mwai administration. But last year there were student arrests and unrest over the indefinite closure of institutions amid fears of protests at the political stand-off between Mwai and Odinga.

The University of Nairobi, the country’s oldest institution of higher learning, has traditionally been the most politically active of the seven public universities. The university has produced a string of radical student leaders such as James Orengo, now a politician, and Hassan Omar, a human rights campaigner. Many came to national prominence voicing their anger at the excesses of Kenya‘s dictatorial former ruler, Daniel Arap Moi.


Varsity students face expulsion over riots

Sunday, March 22 2009 at 20:24

Kenyatta University students who took part in violent protests that led to the closure of the institution face expulsion or suspension.

The vice-chancellor, Prof Olive Mugenda, said on Sunday undergraduate students could resume learning early next week after opening dates are announced following consultations with the senate and council.

Those who rioted on Wednesday and blocked Thika Road to protest against the university’s alleged refusal to extend the fee payment deadline and plans to introduce a dress code face tough action.


“Students who were involved in the riots and destruction of property will be dealt with firmly, and in accordance with University Rules and Regulations governing student conduct,” said Prof Mugenda in an advertisement in Sunday’s newspapers.

“The University Management, Senate and Council note that no credible institution can run efficient systems without the stringent respect and adherence to established policies, rules and regulations.

“The university will therefore not condone any non-compliance by students to the established rules governing student conduct,” added Prof Mugenda.

A deadline for the students to register and pay full fees before they can sit examinations scheduled to begin on April 2 was said to be the main reason for the demonstration.

The advertisement appeared to blame leaders of the Kenyatta University Students Association for the riots.

Elsewhere, the fate of 37 Egerton University students who actively participated in riots that resulted in the closure of the university will be known on Monday when the senate meets at the main campus in Njoro.

At the same time, the senate will decide when to recall the 2,000 students who were sent home a fortnight ago. The students had gone on the rampage, destroying property worth millions of shillings.

They cited power blackouts, among other grievances, as reasons for their violent action.


Kenyatta University closed after student riot


By Cyrus Ombati and Jama Ally

Kenyatta University main campus has been closed indefinitely after students there went on the rampage and stoned motorists along the busy Thika-Nairobi highway.

The students were protesting at the university’s decision to bar colleagues from registering for exams.

A circular issued by the university has ordered the students to leave the compound by the close of the day.

The students had blocked the highway for the better part of the morning to protest an ultimatum by the management to register for exams.

They told journalists that the management had given them until last Friday to pay up all their school fees and balances before they could be registered.

« But they have refused to head our pleas to be given more time to look for the money so that we can clear the balances and register for exams. The majority of students have been locked out from doing the exams, » a student.

The students engaged police in running battles and stoned motorists on Thika Road. Police used teargas to chase the students who back with stones.

Nairobi head of police operations Wilfred Mbithi said police would ensure the students comply with the university order to vacate their hostels.

Manifestation et scènes de pillage à Nairobi

Par Reuters, publié le 10/03/2009 à 13:09

NAIROBI – Des milliers d’étudiants sont descendus mardi dans les rues de la capitale kenyane, Nairobi, pour protester contre la mort de personnes tuées par les forces de sécurité, mais leur démonstration de force a dégénéré en violences, avec des pillages de magasins et des heurts avec la police.


Deux mille étudiants se sont tout d’abord rassemblés dans le centre de la capitale, en provenance du campus de l’Université de Nairobi et de l’Ecole polytechnique du Kenya. Le nombre de manifestants a rapidement grossi pour atteindre les 5.000, ont rapporté des témoins.

La police, qui s’efforçait au début de rester discrète, est intervenue lorsque des étudiants ont commencé à bloquer les rues, dont l’une avec un camion-citerne.

Trois coups de feu ont été entendus par un journaliste de Reuters dans le centre de la capitale. Certains manifestants se sont mis à assener des coups contre des véhicules, à abattre des arbres. Ils ont brisé les vitrines de certains restaurants pour se procurer de quoi boire et manger, et ont passé à tabac plusieurs journalistes. Des policiers qui ont tenté de s’approcher ont été accueillis par une grêle de cailloux.

Les manifestants réclament la démission du chef des services de police. Ils brandissaient des pancartes et scandaient « Ali doit partir!« , allusion au chef de la police Hussein Ali. Ce dernier, qui a ordonné l’arrestation de trois agents pour avoir tiré sur des étudiants la semaine dernière, a assuré qu’il ne démissionnerait pas.

Cette manifestation traduit plus largement le mécontentement croissant de l’opinion envers le gouvernement de coalition dirigé par Raila Odinga. Après avoir ramené le calme dans la foulée des violences post-électorales qui avaient fait au moins 1.300 morts l’an dernier, le gouvernement d’union nationale a calé sur la question des réformes politiques et des affaires de corruption ont vu le jour.

Ces dernières semaines, la colère de l’opinion s’est concentrée sur les accusations de divers meurtres qui auraient été commis par des policiers. Un meneur étudiant, notamment, a été tué sur le campus de l’université de Nairobi.

Frank Nyakairu, version française Eric Faye

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~ par Alain Bertho sur 30 mars 2009.

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