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Events Surrounding March 2009 KU Riots

Following the much publicized Kenyatta University riots of Wednesday 18th March and Sunday 22nd March 2009, below are my own versions of the happenings leading to and during the riots. I have omitted several occurrences that i did not witness in first or second party. the happenings below are NOT eye witness reports, and are INADMISSIBLE legally. you can help by filling in the missing gaps, by commenting below the note.

The time frames are approximate in nature, and are issued more as checkpoints than as exact time.

Please also note that these are events, rather than causes or results of any action.

First Week of March
KUSA(Kenyatta University Student's Union) Elections

About March 16th 2009
KUSA officials meet the administration to vouch for extension of the Registration Deadline. Several students had paid after the deadline and were denied registration which was to begin on 27th March. Negotiations unsuccessful, with what transpired during the negotiations been unclear.

Tuesday 17th March 2009.
The Administration releases a circular stating that Registration Deadlines will not be extended.
KUSA releases a circular urging all students to meet outside their offices at 8.00 a.m. the following morning and march to the administration offices, where they would pressure the administration to extend the deadline.

Wednesday 18th March 2009
10: 00 a.m.
Thousands of students march to the administration blocks, and demand to be addressed by the Vice Chancellor. An official is send to address them. What the official said remains unclear, but the official is beaten up, and a few windows in the administration block broken.
Some students rush to the Eastern kitchen and loot it, while the others run to the main gate, block Thika Road and engage in stone throwing.
About 11.00 a.m.
The riot is already contained and confined to inside the school compound, but around the gate area.
1.30 p.m.
Police and students still engaged in missile throwing (teargas vs. stones) at the gate area.
A circular ordering all students to vacate the campus by 2.15 p.m. is issued. Students begin vacating the school. Damage caused by the strike is
· mostly structural damage on the gate
· destruction and looting of a coca cola vending machine at the gate
· destruction of flower vases around the gate area
· windows in administration block
· looting of food in the eastern mess.

Wednesday 18th March - Friday 27th March 2009
Campus closed to all students.
Students denied entry to hostels to retrieve any property
some KUSA officials, especially the top executives are suspended from their positions.
Suspended KUSA officials plus other students suspended from campus without hearings
Students Fined Ksh. 1000 for damages
Exams pushed by a day from earlier scheduled dates
most students complain about the above measures, and schedule a strike on Monday 29th March 2009, vowing not to sit for the exams until
suspended students are reinstated
a favorable exam schedule is set
reduction of the fine, since most students claim they did not take part in the strike

Senate meeting held on Friday 20th fail to agree on key issues such as suspension of students including Key KUSA officials. Rumors indicate that a special senate was held on Tuesday 24th, passing key resolutions like reopening of the university, student fine and student suspension. there is no provision of a special senate in the Kenyatta University Act. What remains unclear is who suspended the KUSA students, given that the senate includes KUSA members during suspension of students.

Sunday 22nd March 2009
the university puts a up a notice signed by the vice Chancellor. The notice says that:
the university was closed down to prevent further destruction of school property
there is no school uniform(just a proposed dress code) amongst other things

the University calls in members of the University Christian Union, a few past KUSA leaders and provides them with University Security Guards, who accompany them to a scheduled press conference at 680 hotel . the conference fails to take place after it is thwarted by KUSA leaders.

Friday 27th March 2009
1st year students report back. A yellow A4 form is offered to all students that pay the fine, and who were not suspended. the students are supposed to show the yellow form + proof of payment of the fine upon request, anywhere on the university. the form is supposed to be carried to the exam room too. the form binds the student to:
maintain peace at all times, while within the campus
not to take part in demonstrations against the campus amongst other requirements.

Saturday 28th March 2009
3rd and 4th years report back. they are issued with the same yellow A4 form with same requirements.
rumors of an imminent strike now rampant amongst students.

Sunday 29th March 2009.
8.00 a.m.
2nd years begin reporting back. they are issued with the same yellow A4 form with same requirements.
10.00 a.m. - 1.00 p.m.
Several students begin leaving the university's main campus with their belongings. this prompts most students to panic, and the too start vacating with their property.
3.00 p.m.
The Vice Chancellor signs a circular that assures students of "adequate security arrangements" amidst "rumors been circulated of a strike on Facebook and via mobile". the circular confirms that exams will take place as scheduled, for those who want to do the exams.
4.00 p.m
most students are now taking their property out of campus.
7.30 p.m.
rioting begins at Ruiru campus. Thika road temporarily blocked. several hostels e.g. Chania and Athi on fire, looting of campus property.
8.00 p.m.
riots begin atthe main campus, almost immediately accompanied by police presence. riots characterized by a general confusion, bonfires. looting of arts complex and computer lab, shooting and tear gas. riots began at main gate and at k.m. area outside Nyayo hostels. Safaricom networks jams.
9.00 p.m.
student centre and KUSA offices already on fire. police engage students in running battles
9.30 p.m.
Kilimambogo hostel heavily reeking of petrol. students call for police to help secure the hostel. Police come in and violently evict everyone inside the hostel
11.30 p.m.
Tear Gas canisters thrown into some rooms in Nyayo 1 set the rooms on fire

cocnlusion
Monday 30th March 2009
12.01 a.m.
Heavy rains lead to a ceasefire in the riots involving both police and students.
circulars requiring all students required to vacate campus by 7.00 a.m.issued
9.30 a.m.
The top floor of Nyayo 3 hostel set on fire. remaining students forcefully evicted from campus.

In total., the following buildings were set on fire during the Sunday riots:
Chania Hostels(Ruiru Campus)
Student Centre
KUSA(MAKU,CU) office building
Computer Centre
Harambee Hall
Nyayo 3(partially)

Casualties Include
2 dead(1 student, 1 unknown) total number remains unconfirmed
several injuries including
1 student's face burned by exploding canister
1 student with soft tissue injury
1 student shot in the chest
1 student with broken legs after jumping from the 1st floor of Ngong hostel
several students with broken hands
Nyayo 1 (few isolated rooms)

Disclaimer: The author was a Kenyatta University Student at the time of the strike.

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