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Section of Mombasa youth hail President for engaging them

The youths however urged the President to shelve the new university funding model

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A section of Mombasa youth drawn from universities and colleges have welcomed the move by the Head of State to have a broader engagement with the youth for national interests.

They denounced and condemned the chaos witnessed in Port City during last week’s protest, which was hijacked by criminals and led to the wanton destruction of properties, two deaths and injuries.

Masumbuko Abdulrahman a youth leader said that their aim was not to cause division but to advocate for change but unfortunately, their peaceful protests were hijacked by criminals with nefarious plans.

He welcomed the signing of the IEBC bill Tuesday, noting that it will allow youth with political ambitions to vie for various elective positions.

“We have 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 should 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 is commendable because “we are the backbone of the society, we are 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 impacting Kenya’s democracy and has also amplified the youth’s role in checking and balances of the government.

“We believe the younger people are the face of revolution. We are not here that we are hungry and we want power but we are here because we want the right thing to be done at the right time,” stated Twalib.

“We would like to condemn the goons for infiltrating the protests thereby undermining a noble course which is a concern for the nation. We demand that they stop with immediate effect,” 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 Technical University of Mombasa called for cooperation between the youth to make the Port City peace 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 in the ground, police are just doing their work but people are viewing them as enemies,” he said.

Meanwhile, traders along Moi Avenue have resumed business 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. Some who purchase on loan cannot buy as they have no business,” said Ben Chumbu, a car dealer.

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

 

kra