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Student riots to cost Egerton Sh235mn

Monday January 13 2020
SNEGERTON0801

Egerton University Vice Chancellor Prof Rose Mwonya. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By FRANCIS MUREITHI

Egerton University says it suffered Sh235 million damages following student unrest at its Njoro campus in December last year that led to closure of the institution.

Vice-Chancellor Prof Rose Mwonya revealed the figure while defending a Sh16,862 levy charged on each student that led to further unrest on Sunday and Monday.

Several Egerton University students were arrested Monday morning after clashing with police during a protest against the fee.

She said that the amount learners are paying is a result of extensive damage caused by rioting students and quantified by the university Senate which met on December 19 last year.

“All the due process including procurement, security, importation charges for the reagents, chemicals, labour, taxes, disposal of non and hazardous materials, treatment and compensation to staff and livestock were considered before arriving at the cost per student,” said Prof Mwonya.

She said the cost will be distributed evenly among all 13,953 students who were at the campus and each will pay Sh16,862 for the damages.

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However, she noted that 712 students living with disability would be exempted from paying damages for the December 4 strike.

“I would like to inform the parents and sponsors that the Sh16,862 will go towards repairing the damages contrary to misreporting and misrepresentation of facts by social media that the university was out to make money out of the unrest by overcharging the students,” said Prof Mwonya.

The students had last month protested the administration's move to block learners with fees arrears from sitting examinations.

“It is the feeling of the university that the damages were unwarranted considering that the students knew very well they were to pay school fees before sitting their end of semester exams," she said.

Speaking to the Nation on Monday, Prof Mwonya said the students looted, vandalised accessories and utilities and set fire to several buildings within the university including Ruwenzori hostels.

The students are also accused of damaging newly constructed dining halls, a students' centre and new hostels.

The students did not spare greenhouses and facilities supported by donors.

According to Prof Mwonya, they also destroyed the administration block, especially the chancellor's office, registrar administration offices and others.

“Destruction of iconic and invaluable building equipment and teaching resources, some of which are sentimental and treasured by the Egerton University community and its alumni like the Holland Hall, were damaged,” she said.

The VC said the students also destroyed and burnt private property such as vehicles belonging to staff and visitors.

Prof Mwonya said the rioting students also injured cows by stoning them, some of which died later.

However, she did not indicate how many cows died.

“Some staff members who were caught up in the melee are still nursing injuries'', she said.

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