On Tuesday, 02 October 2012 07:29 in an article; Maseno University Students Go On Rampage, Koome Kimonye of Citizen news reported that Business came to a standstill for close to 5 hours after the irate students attacked villagers leaving one person critically injured and another one feared dead.The angry students said tension started building up after another student was raped over the weekend by an unknown villager and another one critically injured in the yester night incident. The rioting students looted and burnt down business ventures owned by villagers saying the villagers must take responsibility of the act.The students threatened to attack the neighbouring homes accusing the local residents of terrorizing them.The students engaged Kisumu police officers in a running battle starting at 4am as they barricaded the Kisumu – Busia highway. Similarly Mang'oa Mosota of standard digital on, October 02 2012 at 16:16 GMT+3 reported that Maseno University students went rampage after one of them was attacked and seriously injured by goons outside the institution. The male student was attacked at Emabungo area, just outside Siriba campus on Tuesday, at around 2am.Soon afterwards, the more than 5000 students started demonstrating, temporarily closing Kisumu-Busia road.other than rioting, and standing in solidarity with their colleagues who had been affected by the insecurity situation, Maseno university students had the following to say:
A) The Maseno University needs to address that insecurity issue a bit more serious. It has always been there though not to such extent but having being left unresolved, this unfortunate incidence was to happen soon or later. Students' security is part of the university's responsibilities. However, the students too exercise restraint as far as taking law into their hands. Hopes this is solved soon before it gets worse.
b) Security is a human right and integral in everyone's life.
c) The Maseno University needs to address that insecurity issue a bit more serious. It has always been there though not to such extent but having being left unresolved, this unfortunate incidence was to happen soon or later.
d)…. some locals have been attacking students in the recent past and robbing them of their property. As a result, the students decided to revenge resulting to the confrontation.
One of the student voices was loud and clear……it was a female student lamenting about the issues that happen at the university and are not addressed;
e)……It’s not in the recent past, it happened on Saturday and then today morning. Surely we really need security. There are even rape cases which most of the times are not looked into. PROTECT OUR STUDENTS. We are tomorrow's leaders!!!.......
From the voices above, both media and student community are communicating to the local, national and world leaders about the students’ right to security. This story communicates to us how insecure environments around varsities pose a great threat to female students. This is violence against women. As I watched the NTV news at 9.00pm yesterday, I heard voices of male students who were very, very angry with the community that has from time to time stolen from the hostels, killed students, raped female students and yet the local leaders and the ministries of Higher education and Gender have not addressed the issue at all.
This may just be one case in the many others around the country, especially among the major national and public universities. Violence against female students in Kenyan has been on the increase lately. Some cases have involved politicians, others family friends, others fellow male students, and others typical rapists. Something needs to be done. The university students through the riots were communicating very strong messages. One of the messages I can highlight here is that of ending violence against female students. But the key issue the government of Kenya needs to address is security, security and security. Security in conflict areas, in urban areas, in warring communities and schools is wanting!
World leaders reading this message should communicate to their governments that;
o Ensuring security of all people in any part of the world is their mandate
o That security is the right of female students
o And that violence against female students is violence against women and should be stopped.
o And that community policing around varsities should have gender integration,
o That students in all universities be sensitized to be aware of the danger zones, risky activities that can compromise their safety and times and places on and off campus while studying
o That university administration take the responsibility of ensuring safe environments for their students
o That businesses around universities should be inspected from time to time since students complain that the premises are hideouts for criminals. criminals should also be arrested and be charged in the court of law.
o That universities ensure safe accommodation for students-particularly female students
Take action! This post was submitted in response to Ending Gender-Based Violence 2012.