Learning was paralyzed for hours at Coast Institute of Technology (CIT) in Voi on Tuesday morning after hundreds of angry students went on rampage protesting over overcrowding and dilapidated buildings that placed them at risk of contracting Covid-19.
Heavily armed police drawn from Voi Police Station were engaged in wild running battles with the students as hapless traders at the nearby Sofia village hurriedly shut their businesses over fear of looting.
Police fired in the air and hurled teargas to disperse the students and other curious-onlookers.
Overwhelmed, the rioting students fled back to the institution where learning was in progress with police hot in pursuit. More chaos ensued disrupting learning as students dashed out of the institution to avoid the police wrath.
Mr. Rober Kigen, student leader, alleged that the institution was falling apart from years of dilapidation with no effort by the management to repair the buildings. He said continued stay endangered the lives of the students. He further claimed that the institution was overcrowded owing to the surging student population.
“We are living in fear because the students are so many yet there are no plans to have more buildings to accommodate all of us,” he said, adding that the possibility of Covid-19 infection and spread in the institution remained high.
There are also complaints that CIT has been double-charging students by allocating separate fee balances.
Mr. Kigen claimed that different offices in the finance department had differing figures which raised questions on the authenticity of the said fee balances.
“How can one student have three different balances from the same department? Something fishy is going on. Our grievances have not been addressed,” he said.
The student leader blamed the top leadership at CIT for the mess and urged the government to intervene by initiating a probe into their allegations.
Reports say that after the riots, the CIT’s management issued an order for National Youth Service (NYS) students at the institution who are alleged to have led the riots to leave and report back next week.
CIT is the largest technical institution in the Coast region with a population of over 2,000 learners. Efforts to get a comment from the management was futile.
By Wagema Mwangi