Multimedia University Students’ Protest Over Delayed HELB Funds

In a recent outburst of frustration, students from Multimedia University have publicly demonstrated their dissatisfaction with the delay in the disbursement of funds from the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB). On Tuesday, these impassioned students staged a protest on the streets of Ongata Rongai Town in Kajiado County, specifically obstructing Magadi Road, a crucial thoroughfare.

Armed with poignant slogans and chants such as “the struggle continues”, the students expressed their unwavering determination for action and justice. Their vocal demonstration was further intensified with the lighting of tires and bonfires, signaling a deep-rooted sense of agitation. However, this display of civil unrest did not go unnoticed. Security personnel were swiftly on the scene, and what ensued was a tumultuous clash between the two groups. In an attempt to break up the congregation, the security officers resorted to using tear gas, causing further chaos and contention.

The core of the students’ grievance is the delay in the release of the HELB funds, a lapse which has had a significant impact on their day-to-day lives. This delay has been especially detrimental to those who come from low-income families. Despite prior assurances from the government guaranteeing timely disbursements, the students have faced hardships and adversities due to these unfulfilled promises.

The prolonged period of unrest and dissatisfaction among the student community has not gone unnoticed at the national level. Prominent national figures, such as Embakasi East MP Babu Owino, have vocally criticized the delay and called for immediate action. In a recent statement, Owino shed light on the grim reality faced by the students. He emphatically remarked, “Comrades are very hungry and angry at the same time. Students cannot go to class because HELB has not been released hence cannot pay fees.”

He further elaborated on the multifaceted challenges posed by the delay in funds. Students are grappling with the inability to purchase essential items, secure accommodation, and even cover their transportation costs due to the absence of these funds. Owino’s impassioned plea extended to Treasury CS Prof. Ndung’u, urging him to collaborate with HELB and expedite the release of the funds. “Move with speed and release the money to comrades in various universities. HELB must never delay. This money is very little and it is never sufficient and furthermore you are delaying it,” he asserted.

Echoing Owino’s sentiments, Antony Manyara, the current president of the Kenya Universities Students Organization (KUSO), provided a beacon of hope for the distressed students. He announced that after deliberations with the Higher Education Loans Board, there was an agreement to allocate the funds in the coming week.

In light of these developments, it remains imperative for the relevant authorities to recognize the plight of the students and act swiftly. The continuous delay not only hampers their academic pursuits but also threatens their basic sustenance and well-being. The hope is that the combined voices of the students, backed by national figures, will accelerate the release of the funds and bring much-needed relief.


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