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Laikipia University students riot over fete

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By STEVE NJUGUNA
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Rioting Laikipia University students engaged the police in running battles for the better part of Tuesday.

The students were protesting over the shortening of this year’s cultural week from five to one day.

The protests that started on Tuesday morning crippled transport along the busy Nyahururu – Nakuru highway as the rioting students rendered it impassable after lighting bonfires.   

Shops at the nearby Karuga and Nyumba Tatu shopping centres remained closed for the better part of the day while several kiosks along the busy road were set ablaze by the rowdy students.

Firefighters from Laikipia County were on Tuesday afternoon battling huge fires at Shamanei Forest and another one at a hay farm in the institution’s neighbourhood.

Police have urged motorists to exercise caution when approaching Laikipia University Main campus which is located at Karuga area, some 20 Kilometres from Nyahururu town.

“We have been here since morning, no cars are allowed to use the road by the protesting students. Our vehicles have been damaged while some of our passengers have also been injured by the students,” said Mr Samuel Kariuki a matatu driver.

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According to the students, the protests were sparked after the reduction on the number of days of the cultural week. The event was initially set to run from Monday to Friday.

“We have been holding a cultural week in every academic year. This year’s event was set to start yesterday (Monday) up to Friday. But yesterday (Monday) we were notified by the university’s administration that we will only hold the event on Friday,” said the student who sought anonymity.

Another student said that the university management cited lack of funds for the changes.

“Why is the university citing lack of funds for shortening the period of the cultural event yet the money had been factored in the fees,” posed another student.



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Kenya: Suspected COVID-19 Patient Fights Lonely Battles

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“I cannot wait for my quarantine days to be over so that I can mourn my mother; I will start wailing at the door.”

These were the painful words of Brenda Akinyi, 42, whose mother, Ursula Buluma, a Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) employee, passed away at a Mombasa hospital on April 2 and was buried the same day at Mbaraki cemetery.

Ms Buluma was the Coast region’s first Covid-19 fatality.

Speaking to the Nation on phone from her isolation bed at Coast General Hospital (CPGH) in Mombasa, Ms Akinyi, who is the late Buluma’s first born daughter, said her mother’s death was as a result of “carelessness and negligence” by the hospital’s management.

“I am yet to grieve. I didn’t see her body, nor attend her burial,” she said, adding: “My mother has been having health complications which she has lived with for years, so when she called me on Wednesday, March 25, to go to her house in Jomvu to take her to hospital, I did not find it strange because it was not the first time I was doing it.”

PNEUMONIA TREATMENT

They went to Bandari Clinic – which is usually the first stop for KPA employees – where her mother was diagnosed with pneumonia and referred to the Mombasa hospital.

“We went to Mombasa hospital on a KPA ambulance, where my mother was first taken to the emergency section and put on oxygen. However, she was removed from the intensive care unit and taken for what the hospital staff told me was screening, the same day,” she said from her Rahamtulla isolation ward at CPGH.

She was later told that her mother will have to be taken to an isolation ward as they suspected that she had Covid-19 disease.

She visited her mother on Friday and Saturday, staying next to her on both days and chatting as usual. But when she returned on Sunday, March 29, she was asked to stay away because her mother had tested positive.

“I was devastated. I also demanded to know why my mother was not put on pneumonia treatment at Mombasa hospital as was directed by doctors at Bandari Clinic, but no one gave me an answer.”

According Ms Akinyi, doctors visited her home on Monday, March 30, did some tests and left. They returned on Tuesday, March 31, to pick her.

TESTS TURN NEGATIVE

She was first taken to the Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) isolation centre in Mombasa before being moved to the Coast General Hospital on Tuesday, April 1.

“I have been in quarantine for 10 days today and I have not exhibited any symptoms. I have been in touch with my children and none of them has exhibited any signs, which leaves me very confused as to why exactly I am here,” she said.

“I have not been given any results from the tests they did before they took me to KMTC and thereafter in this isolation ward. It is very frustrating because I am not aware of my condition. Am I on forced quarantine or under treatment?” she wondered.

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Ms Akinyi’s children are under quarantine at the KMTC, Mombasa campus. But given the poor condition of the facilities, the family transferred them to Mombasa Beach Hotel, one of the quarantine centres at the Coast.

According to her, life in isolation is tough because she is cut off physically from the rest of the world, depending on her mobile phone and internet connectivity to keep abreast with what is going on in the country and beyond.

“I am in a self-contained room staring at the walls the whole day, without anyone to talk to or even an opportunity to bask in the sun,” she said.

ROUTINE

Ms Akinyi said she wakes up as early as 4am to browse the internet and check on friends on social media until 7am, when her breakfast is served by hospital staff.

At 10am, she is served with tea, and thereafter lunch at noon. Four hours later, an evening cup of tea is wheeled into her room, before her dinner closes the daily meal routine at 7pm.

“They have made sure that we have our meals on time. That is all we get here, mostly because one is rarely visited by a medical doctor,” Ms Akinyi said, adding that the medics talk to her on phone mainly to ask if she is exhibiting any symptoms.