Machakos University Students Disrupt Traffic As They Demand Prompt Release of HELB Funds

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Machakos University students staged a protest on the Machakos-Wote Road, seeking the immediate release of Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) funds.

The delay in disbursing these funds has left students struggling to cover school fees and living expenses. Police used tear gas to disperse the demonstrators and prevent potential property damage in Machakos town.

Machakos University students caused a disruption on the Machakos-Wote Road as they pressed for the swift release of Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) funds. This financial aid, designated for tuition and upkeep, has reportedly not been disbursed to eligible students, despite the institution opening its doors two months ago.

Expressing their frustration, Ian Kibet, President of the university’s student body, conveyed the challenges faced by students in sustaining their livelihoods at the university due to the delayed disbursement of these funds. “We are here as the students of Machakos University to demand for what we were promised by the government. The demos will continue if they don’t do so immediately,” Kibet emphasized.

These concerns were echoed by Vice President Grace Maina, the university’s deputy, who raised the alarming prospect of some students missing their final exams due to outstanding school fees.

To maintain public order and ensure the safety of residents and their property, the police intervened and utilized tear gas to disperse the student demonstrators, leading to the temporary closure of the Machakos-Wote road, home to the university.

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Blocking the road was a precautionary measure to prevent the protests from spilling into Machakos town’s central business district, which could result in property damage.

This recent student demonstration recalls a previous clash between students and law enforcement, culminating in tragic consequences. In the past, student unrest was provoked by heightened insecurity in some of the residential areas, and the situation escalated to the extent that it compelled the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Lucy Irungu, to close the institution indefinitely on December 7, 2022.

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