University of Nairobi closed indefinitely
University of Nairobi has been closed indefinitely and students ordered to vacate campus by Tuesday 5pm.
A special senate resolved to close the institution after days of violence as a result of disputed students’ union elections.
The closure affects all campuses including those in Mombasa and Kisumu.
The Students Organisation of Nairobi University (Sonu) elections that were held on Friday were followed by days of demonstrations as students protested the re-election of Paul Ongili popularly known as Babu Owino.
Monday saw daylong riots that included the burning of the Sonu offices at the main campus.
Following the unrest, the university issued a statement that aggrieved parties “file election petitions with the Independent Electoral Petitions Panel, 2016 on or before Wednesday, April 6, 2016 by 5.00 pm as provided for in Sonu Constitution.”
However, on Tuesday morning, one of the chairmanship candidate, Mike Jacobs, told Nairobi News in an interview that he would not file a petition and would only pursue a nullification of results through demonstrations.
“Filing a petition will not be an option for us because we cannot follow legal procedures when the election guidelines were broken in the first place,” he said.
Jacobs further claimed that commissioners and security officers were compromised to rig the elections in favour of the incumbent.
“We have so much incompetence in the leadership that we cannot trust them with a petition to resolve election malpractices. We will stay put and demand for accountability and an audience with the administration,” he added.
Tuesday morning was characterised by tension within the main campus and as students marched to the administration offices to seek an audience with the Vice Chancellor.
In the aftermath of the protests, a video that showed GSU officers clobbering people who were purported to be students outside the university’s halls of residence went viral on social media.
The police have since explained that the video was an archive footage uploaded by bloggers to discredit them.
However, Jacobs who insisted that indeed some students were assaulted by the police during demonstrations on Monday.
“I heard my opponent in a radio interview saying those are not students but the truth is that those were students and I can confirm that I know some of the affected students. As much as there were no serious injuries reported, they were treated at the campus clinic for soft tissue injuries,” he said.