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MKU Students protest paralyses business along General Kago Road.

A section of Mount Kenya University students who staged a peaceful demonstration along General Kago Road on Friday paralysing business for more than an hour.
Mount Kenya University (MKU) students on Friday staged a peaceful protest over mushrooming business structures along General Kago Road near their institution arguing that they were a security risk and a source of illicit drugs and alcohol.

The students, all from the main campus in Thika, demanded their removal within the next seven days, failure to which the students would forcefully pull them down.

The personal assistant to the President of the Students Union, Comrade Moses Oginga, while addressing newsmen decried what he described as a spate of robbery and insecurity in the resent times which he said may have been contributed by the ‘illegal’ structures.

“Hardly a day passes without a case of a student either being mugged or stubbed by unknown people around this place. We cannot tell who is who among those operating in these structures and we suspect that some criminal elements are hiding here in the guise of running some business,” said Odinga.

Odinga said that they had aired their grievances to the university administration who in turn notified the county government but nothing has been forthcoming.

Kelvin Theuri Wa Wanjiru, narrated of a recent incident where a student was stabbed by unknown muggers and lost all his documents. He also talked of some incidents of rape among female students in the same vicinity.

“We cannot take this anymore. If the county government fails to listen to our plight, we will take the law unto our hands and demolish these structures. Our safety as students comes first and we will not allow any situation to compromise that fact,” said Theuri.

“To be frank with you, one of this shops here sell drugs to our students. Recently, a student was nabbed with drugs within the precincts of the college and upon questioning, he revealed that he had acquired them from that shop,” yelled Julius Kaleli, the Students’ Sports Minister.

These grievances were confirmed by MKU’s Dean of Students Evans Otieno Obango who said that they had already forwarded the same to the Kiambu County authorities. He pointed out that, as an institution, they were not opposed to the shops but they had to ensure that they did not jeopardise the safety of their students.

“The shops are helpful to our students but due to security reasons, we suggest that their doors face from the inside of that compound so that the management of that facility can ensure they are monitored from one central point and whatever gets into their compound can be checked from the gate,” said the dean.

Some of the structures (on the background) that are the bone of contention with the MKU students who claim habour some criminal elements who attack them at night and sell drugs to some of the students. 
He added that, as things stood, the shops were a security threat to their new building that is set to be opened soon.

“As we do such a facility, it is incumbent upon us to ensure that the ambience around it is well and we are assured of the security of our students as they come in. We do not also want someone hiding in such structures and spying on us. It might be a big security threat.”

The proprietor of the said property Mr. Gilbert Chomba Kariuki denied any connection between their developments and insecurity saying that they only hosted genuine business people who were out to eke a living from legitimate trade.

However, speaking separately, Kiambu County Chief Officer for Land, Housing and Physical planning David Gatimu denied licensing those structures, describing them as illegal.

“Last week we served them (the traders) with orders to stop operating from there as we have not licenced anyone to put up such structures along the area. We are warning anyone trading in those structures that they risk losing their property as we are not going to allow them to work from there,” he warned. 

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