Students of the Kenya Methodist University (KeMU) main campus in Meru on Monday evening went on the rampage protesting against the suspension of their leaders.
The rowdy protestors barricaded the Meru-Maua road at around 5pm and engaged police in running battles after talks between the student’s council and the university’s management failed to resolve the impasse.
Property of unknown value was also destroyed within the university.
This comes two days after the KeMU Students Organisation (Kemuso) raised several grievances to the university’s management and gave a seven-day ultimatum within which they should be addressed.
In a memo seen by the Nation, the students raised concerns over a shortage of lecturers for medical courses, lack of labs at the Nairobi campus, bed bug invasion in hostels, unsafe toilets within the ladies' hostels, expensive food, abandoning of sporting events, negligence of the student centre and lack of a Muslim prayer room at the main campus among other grievances.
Kemuso Secretary-General James Mbogo said they met Vice-Chancellor Maurice Okoth on Monday for negotiations only to be issued with warning letters.
"We had been requested to meet the management for talks over the grievances but we were escorted out and detained at the gate by the security officers. The chairman, treasurer and I were then served with suspension letters at the gate. This is what sparked the riots by students," Mr Mbogo said.
Speaking on the matter, Prof Okoth said the three officials were suspended for using social media to incite students against the university’s management.
He said they had been warned against contravening the students’ code last week but went ahead to urge learners to boycott lectures.
The student leaders had been warned against conducting meetings that may disrupt normalcy, inciting students to boycott classes, publishing any articles addressed to the students or using social media to discredit the university.
“The chairman, secretary and treasurer have been suspended because of inciting students over DSTV and demands that the food price be reduced to Sh30. About 20 students were sympathising with the officials leading to the chaos,” Prof Okoth said.
The VC said the rioting students broke windowpanes and stole food from the cafeteria.
He, however, said that normalcy had been restored.