Report from the Alkebulan School of Black Studies (Kenya), 12 April 2018
The Kenyan student situation is at a critical moment in the country's history. Kenya risks going back to the era of the 1970s and 1980s where students’ right to speak against the administration and against the state was curtailed. During this era (1970&80s) universities were under direct control of the state and government. Especially the University of Nairobi was a place where spies and the state machinery would be deployed to torture and suppress the voice of the students.
This era was also marked by the rise of Marxism among students and lectures who also were tortured, killed and discriminated upon.
The Kenyan government then sought to never repeat a situation like the 1970s where students were the voices of the society. The state lives in fear of popular rising in which students could play a critical role.
In the recent past, the state lives up to its promise to suppress the students’ voice to speak. Fellow students in universities have been turned into spies against their fellow comrades (students). Naturally, this has instilled fear among the students. The state has enforced its own Vice -Chancellors who have become very powerful with the state supporting them. Punishments and harsh penalties have been enforced, for example expulsion of students, is very high. There are suspensions of 3-5 years for students who try to question the school administrative ways.
A situation has now emerged at the University of Nairobi which highlights how the institution has served their selfish interest. The institution last year banned the student union. This union serves the interest of the students and it is an independent union under student leadership. The representatives of the student union went to court and the matter is still in court.
But in the meantime the reactionary administration institution which is under the control of the state has come with a new trick to keep student silent and ineffective. The student union has now been changed into an association, so students no longer have a union but an association controlled by the Administration. The administration quickly scheduled the student election for 13th April. The administration collaborated with some students who are running for the leadership of the so-called association so as to get control of the student. At the same time fellow students seen to be talkative and interested in the welfare of the students have been barred.
We do not approve of the so called University of Nairobi Student Association (UNSA) which seeks to turn progressive students into slaves. We demand the return of the University of Nairobi Student Organization!