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Chuka University links ‘suicides’ to drug use

Tuesday October 30 2018

Chuka University College in Tharaka Nithi county

Chuka University College in Tharaka Nithi county. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Three Chuka University students with have reportedly killed themselves this year, Dean of Students Benjamin Kanga said Monday.

Dr Kanga added that the learners were attending counselling sessions in his office.

Two staff members are also being rehabilitated, he said.


The dean said students can easily get alcohol and drugs at the nearby markets where many have rented rooms.

"Some even attend lectures while drunk," Dr Kanga said.


“One body was found hanging from a mango tree, the other from the ceiling of a house while the third student threw himself in a swollen river and drowned.”


Dr Kanga added that though the cases are still being investigated, the students may have killed themselves due to frustrations occasioned by drug abuse.

Traders have taken advantage of the huge student population to sell legal and illicit drinks. The university has 16,000 students and workers.

Cannabis, shisha and other drugs are also readily available. Students make up a large market for Cannabis grown in Mt Kenya forest.


A drug user who did not want to be identified said most bhang sellers come from Moi Girls slum in Chuka, about two kilometres from the university.

“The sellers are found in the slums during the day but move to Ndagani in the evening,” he said.

Two weeks ago, Chuka University Students Organisation chairman Livan Njeru and churches around wanted to hold a walk around the market to declare the area drug-free but police denied them permission, fearing it would lead to looting.


Tharaka-Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki recently said no bar would be licensed to operate near the university.

“Bars should be at least 300 metres from any learning institution and we are going to be strict on that,” he said at Kairuni stadium in Maara Constituency on Mashujaa Day.

Chuka University Vice-Chancellor Erastus Njoka criticised police for denying students and churches a permit to hold the demo.


“We have reliable information that police collect money from illegal businesses and were bribed to stop the campaign,” Prof Njoka said.

Chuka/Igambang’ombe divisional police commander Benson Makumbi said student leaders did not make a formal request a permit for the walk.

He asked Prof Njoka and the university management to provide information that could lead to the arrest of peddlers.