Student leaders protest against Kisumu Polytechnic reopening

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Kisumu National Polytechnic students during protests on February 3, 2020 against issues including insecurity, forced deferment of studies and school fee increments. PHOTO | ONDARI OGEGA

The reopening of Kisumu National Polytechnic, which was closed last Tuesday after students rioted, is in limbo.

The institutions’ council announced that students would return from February 17 to 19 but their leaders have asked them to remain at home.

Joseph Mbaka, chairperson of the Kisumu National Polytechnic Students Association (Kinaposa), protested against the reopening in a letter seen by the Nation.

“The administration has refused to give audience to the student leadership. We urge all students to reject the dates issued by the principal and wait for official communication from the student union,” Mr Mbaka said.

He said the move was ill-advised and showed the administration had downplayed their woes.

KEY ISSUES

The demonstration led to the arrest of five students by police who hurled tear gas canisters and chased after them in efforts to disperse them.

In a signed notice titled ‘Go-slow’, student leaders spoke of issues including arbitrary increases in school fees and insecurity.

Principal Chanzu Lomolo denied the claim, saying the fee remained Sh56,420 per year as per government guidelines.

“Of the Sh56,420, the government has provided a capitation of Sh30,000 so students only pay Sh26,420. Needy students can apply for loans from the Higher Education Loans Board,” said the principal.

UNION OFFICIAL

Mr Lomolo further disregarded the student’s notice, co-signed by supposed Secretary-General Amos Oduor, saying he was suspended last November due to indiscipline and was yet to appear before the senate.

Mr Mbaka, however, said Mr Oduor was a bona fide student and was not in session during the time of his alleged suspension.

“This is clearly a ploy by the principal to taint us over serious problems. The administration has resorted to name-calling and unreasonable accusations,” he said.

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