We condemn protests and welcome dialogue, Mombasa youth

Counties Mombasa Social

A section of youth drawn from universities and colleges around Mombasa County have welcomed the move by President Dr. William Ruto to have a broader engagement with the youth for the sake of national interests.

The youth denounced and condemned the chaos witnessed at the Coast City during last week’s protests, which was also hijacked by criminals, leading to the wanton destruction of properties, deaths, and injuries.

A youth leader, Masumbuko Abdulrahman, said that their aim was to advocate for change, but unfortunately, their peaceful protests were hijacked by criminals with evil plans.

“We have the hopes and dreams, but we lack the ways and means. We would like to be listened to. Let’s demonstrate peacefully because, at the end of the day, we will be asked by our children what legacy we are leaving to them,” said Masumbuko.

He added that the Head of State’s approach to engaging the youth was commendable because “we are the backbone of society and the future pillars.”

“The President should extend the engagement to the grassroots level, not university students alone, for them to understand the developments in our country,” stated Masumbuko.

Mombasa University Student Association (MUSA) President Mohammed Twalib also lauded the youth for exercising their constitutional right of picketing to air their grievances.

This, he said, is the right step in positively imparting Kenya’s democracy and has also amplified the youth’s role in checking and balancing the government.

“We believe the younger people are the face of revolution, but they should not be misused; hence, we would like to condemn the goons for infiltrating the protests, thereby undermining a noble course, which is a concern for the nation,” he added.

The youths also urged the government to withdraw the new university funding model, calling for the reinstatement of the previous model. They argued that the new model has led to an increase in fees and less aid, resulting in anguish for students.

“If we believe in education as the greatest equalizer, then we must reinstate the previous funding model because the new funding model is not friendly to underprivileged children, whose parents can’t take them to various courses as stated by the new model,” explained Twalib.

Josphat Kalume, a student at Kenya Coast National Polytechnic, said cognizant of the prevailing economic situation in the country, many students depend on loans from the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) to enable them to proceed with their education.

Kalume noted that the reduction of HELB funding by the government from Sh10 billion to Sh3.5 billion will affect students from underprivileged families who wholly depend on the loan.

“We are asking the government to rethink the decision. Most students depend on sponsorship either from the government or non-government organizations,” he said.

He noted that some students who are supposed to register for the next semester starting in September may defer their studies as a result of a lack of fees.

Abdalla Said, a student at the Technical University of Mombasa, called for cooperation between the youth to make Port City peaceful and to enhance security.

He urged the police not to profile people for the mistakes of others. “From the events of last week, it has come to light that even the wananchi are afraid of the police. There is that enmity on the ground; police are just doing their work, but people are viewing them as enemies,” he said.

Meanwhile, traders along Moi Avenue in Mombasa noted that businesses have resumed after being affected by the protests that were staged every Tuesday and Thursday in the last three weeks.

They thanked the youth for heeding the Head of State’s call for dialogue to end the stalemate.

“Most car buyers are not from Mombasa; they come from Nairobi, upcountry, and the neighbouring countries. When there are protests, they don’t come to buy vehicles,” said Ben Chumbu, a car dealer.

“Let’s halt the protests; Mombasa is a peace haven. It is a tourist hub that brings a lot of revenue; for most of them, their first stop is the iconic Elephant Tusks. When there are protests, visitors will not come,” added Chumbu.

Regarding yesterday’s function in Nairobi, where President Ruto officially assented to the IEBC bill, Masumbuko noted it will allow youth with political ambitions to vie for various elective positions.

By Sadik Hassan

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