Student dies after varsity protest - Daily Nation

Student dies after varsity protest

Tuesday September 22 2009

Anti-riot policemen corner a Moi University student during a student protest along the  Eldoret-Nakuru highway at Cheptiret trading centre. The students were protesting high fare charges by matatus plying between Eldoret town and Moi University main campus.  PHOTO/JARED NYATAYA

Anti-riot policemen corner a Moi University student during a student protest along the Eldoret-Nakuru highway at Cheptiret trading centre. The students were protesting high fare charges by matatus plying between Eldoret town and Moi University main campus. PHOTO/JARED NYATAYA 

By DENNIS ODUNGA

A student died and six others were injured in a protest march at Moi University.

The student is said to have died while undergoing treatment at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital.

The students were injured when a vehicle they were travelling in overturned as they returned to the college after the demonstration.

“The driver might have panicked when the students jumped into his vehicle and ordered him to take them to the university,” said Mr David Maritim.

The students, who had walked for about 20 kilometres to protest at high fares between the university and Eldoret town, were returning to the university after they were overpowered by anti-riot police.

The officers barred the students from the Eldoret-Nakuru highway over fear that they could block the highway and cause havoc.

Led by Eldoret police boss Kioko Muinde, the regular and Administration officers used tear gas to disperse the students.

Most commuters were stranded for hours following the demonstration that led to the sealing off of the road.

Businesspeople along the road hurriedly closed their premises for fear of looting.

According to the student leaders, they want the charges reduced from the current Sh100 to Sh50 for the 36 kilometre stretch.

“The charges are exorbitant given that the road has been rehabilitated,” said Mr Stephen Gichuki, the secretary general of the students’ union.

The learners further demanded that other vehicles willing to charge lower rates be allowed to ply the route to stabilise the charges.

Student leader Moses Orang’o claimed that there was a cartel manning the university terminuses.

In control

“Why is the university not taking this matter seriously to save us from exploitation? This cartel is in control of the route and threatens other businessmen willing to introduce their vehicles on this route,” said Mr Victor Mairural.

Dean of students David Mureithi said they would hold a meeting with officials from the matatu industry to find a lasting solution to the grievances.
But the operators insisted that they would not lower the fares.

“The university is in our community and we have a right to benefit. We cannot allow those claiming they can charge less to come here,” said one of the drivers.