Higher education loans board (HELB) and its officers can now smile after the much anticipated University of Nairobi students demonstration failure to kick start. The demonstration which was supposed to start at 10 am today has been called off three hours later.
SONU Chairman Babu Owino while talking to the students at Freedom square in UoN’s hall 9 noted that HELB had disbursed the full amount to students respective accounts. He however said that other universities in Kenya should go on with the demonstration as planned noting that HELB was applying double standards in disbursing the money.
Babu called on all university of Nairobi students to head to their respective banks and confirm receipt of the amount from HELB. The board had as of yesterday 11 pm sent text messages to UoN students notifying them that the amounts were already in their accounts. Students with bank accounts in KCB were also noted through SMS of the banks receipt of funds. This is said to have been the boards way of ensuring that the demonstration scheduled for today did not materialize.
Unconfirmed reports indicate that students from other institutions of higher learning have been stranded since morning not knowing which orders to follow. Babu Owino had called for a nationwide demonstration to force HELB to solve students grievances. The funds in question should have been disbursed as of the month of May this year.
Though university of Nairobi students have shown much relief and are currently praising HELB CEO and the board in general, students from other institutions are highly likely to read malice in how Babu Owino dealt with the issue. Some have started arguing that Babu Owino who is also the leader of all university students in Kenya only deals with problems facing University of Nairobi students.
Babu’s leadership has not been smooth ever since. The body which he heads KUSO has had constant competition from new ones such as KNUSU. He has also been at loggerheads with student leaders from Kenyatta university, JKUAT and Technical university of Kenya. In a recent past meeting with education ministry and HELB officials, leaders from the three universities insinuated in their statement that Babu Owino had been compromised by the financier to smoothen its operations.
Students and the public at large are now waiting to see if the flamboyant chair’s call to action will be taken heed by students from other institutions.