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The student leader expelled from two universities

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 NYAMBEGA GISESA

By NYAMBEGA GISESA
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Pwani University Students Association (Pusa) chairperson Jacobs Fikirini has set the record by becoming the first university student leader to be expelled from two public universities.

Mr Fikirini, who was first sent home from Maasai Mara University in 2017, was expelled again last week after the university administration found him guilty of leading a student protest that they termed illegal.

Mr Fikirini’s woes deepened after he published an opinion piece in a popular university students’ blog in October calling for the ouster of Pwani University Vice-Chancellor Mohamed Rajab. The piece was titled “Why the VC must go by all means necessary.”

In the opinion article, Mr Fikirini revealed that the institution’s bank accounts had been frozen due to tax arrears owed to the Kenya Revenue Authority and raised other issues among them late issuance of bursaries, an unclear policy on retaking of examination and insufficient seats.

“I am aware of all plans that the administration has to pay the KRA Debt through over-fining students. I know of the conspiracy to torture me or students,” he claimed in his write up.

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On seats issue, Mr Fikirini noted that students were forced to do their examinations on their laps and learn while seated on floors of lecture halls.

The Pusa chairperson also complained of inadequate drugs at the institution’s health unit, lack of accreditation by the Commission of University Education (CUE) for some of the courses offered by the university’s School of Health and delayed payment of lecturers, who, in turn, refused to release examination results, leading to missing marks for learners.

Fikirini, 23, was born and raised in Bamba, Kilifi County. He schooled at Mnagoni Primary before joining Mwakitawa Secondary School from where he sat his KCSE in 2014.

In September 2015, he joined Maasai Mara University to pursue a Bachelor of Education in Arts. A year later, he was elected as the Deputy President of the institution’s students organisation.

“In April 2017, I was the only elected student leader to oppose the Adan Duale amendments, which sought to reform how student elections are held. I managed to mobilise 749 votes from students while the opposing team only received 43 votes,” he recalls.

But, his win was a pyrrhic victory.

“Soon after the election, the university administration accused me of inciting the students. I was summoned to appear before a disciplinary committee and given only three minutes to defend myself. Subsequently, I was sent home and told that I could be given an opportunity later on to come and defend myself again. To date, I have never been called back,” he says.

Mr Fikirini says that after getting tired of waiting to be recalled to Maasai Mara University to face a disciplinary committee, he applied and joined Pwani University in August 2017 to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree.

In his expulsion letter, the institution says Mr Fikirini was found guilty of leading students in an illegal demonstration that led to destruction of university property, purporting to suspend classes and inciting students.

Mr Fikirini says he’s not sure of what he will pursue next after his expulsion from two public universities.



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