A few days ago the Social Democratic Party of Kenya (SDP) made a statement through the Secretary General, comrade Benedict Wachira, concerning the recent University of Nairobi (UoN) students’ demonstrations that were triggered by the rigging of SONU elections (see: sdpkenya.org http://goo.gl/YYV3Bh ). We pointed out the truth that the University administration headed by the Vice Chancellor was directly responsible for the rigging of the elections and therefore also for demonstrations that led to the closure of the University. While we do not condone the destruction of property that resulted from the demonstrations, we maintain that the students had a right and a duty of protesting against the rigging of the elections. After all no Kenyan should allow or accept the rigging of elections.
We also pointed out that the rigging of elections that have been the practice for a long time in the UoN were by design and not by accident. The University administration deliberately designed the rigging in order to impose the student leadership that will collaborate with it in perpetuating the corruption in the university in general and involving the money of students’ welfare in particular. To protect corruption, the Vice Chancellors and administrators of Kenyan public universities fight against academic freedom and impose a culture of dictatorship, fear and silence that is also harmful to the creation and dissemination of education. Furthermore, university councils, the Ministry of Education, lecturers, the national intelligence services and other security agencies are fully aware of this truth and must ultimately be made to account for conniving to impose this reactionary state of affairs in our public universities today.
Following the demonstrations at the University of Nairobi, over two hundred students accused of leading/participating in the demonstrations have been arbitrarily suspended or expelled. Suspending and expelling the students for participating in the just demonstrations is not only wrong and unjust, but it is also meant to cover up the malpractices going on inside the University. This is unacceptable in the present era, to say the least. Kenyans must not allow those charged with managing public institutions to continue destroying them through authoritarianism and for purely narrow, parochial and selfish interests.
SDP calls upon the JUBILEE government to stop pretending that it is not aware of the rot in public universities in general and UoN in particular. The suspensions, expulsions and persecutions being perpetrated against the students fighting for truth and justice must be stopped immediately. Instead, the root cause of the problems in the universities must be identified and addressed. In so doing the students must not be made scapegoats. All the students expelled arbitrarily and for participating in the demonstrations for free and fair elections must be reinstated unconditionally. Threats and intimidations against students and their leaders will not help and must be stopped. The students must be allowed to have student leaders elected through free and fair elections. Imposition of thugs and sycophants of corrupt university administrators as student leaders must not be accepted by the government, public or students. In the meanwhile, the vice chancellors and university administrators responsible for the corruption and anarchy in the universities must be sacked and prosecuted for their crimes. The universities, including UoN that have been closed arbitrarily must be opened immediately.
SDP believes that the students have a right and duty to fight for their rights, academic freedom and to clean their learning institutions of corruption, dictatorship and reaction. In so doing, comrades, you should avoid falling in the trap of anarchy that leads to destruction of property and public order. For anarchy does not help just causes.
Social Democratic Party of Kenya (SDP)
April 13th 2016