Varsity students protest as lecturers down tools over pay dispute

What you need to know:

  • Some of the striking lecturers who spoke to the Nation, said part-time tutors in at the university have not been paid for a long time, even after being asked to teach without pay for the last three years.
  • They sought audience with the university’s vice chancellor Professor Mary Walingo who later addressed them at the university’s main campus, promising to address all their issues.

Maasai Mara University students in Narok County took to the streets on Thursday to protest the continued absence of lecturers from classrooms over a salary dispute.

Lecturers have boycotted parallel classes for the last three weeks citing a salary payment dispute with the institution’s management.

The tutors say they have not been paid from as long as 2013 and some are owed up to Sh2 million in arrears by the institution.

They have threatened to withhold examination results until the university settles their arrears.

Some of the striking lecturers who spoke to the Nation, said part-time tutors in at the university have not been paid for a long time, even after being asked to teach without pay for the last three years.

“How do you meet your financial obligations if you are working and you can’t be paid at the end of the month? We are tired and that is why we have downed our tools,” said the Secretary General of the Part Time Lecturers Association Mr Meshack Lagat.

Part-time lecturers have no union to present their grievances, making it difficult for them to push their case in a coordinated way.

Mr Joshua Karia said he started work in August 2013, under a deal that showed he would be paid Sh1,500 per hour for undergraduate classes.

He is now demanding over Sh2 million from the university in in unpaid salaries.

“This cry of distress, expressed by a part-time lecturers in Narok, is not isolated. It represents the feelings of many other lecturers in different public universities in Kenya, we are being taken for a ride,” said Mr Karia.

Town campus students under the privately sponsored students’ programme who are among those affected by the strike staged a peaceful protest march to the Main campus situated at Total estate- three kilometers from Narok town.

They sought audience with the university’s vice chancellor Professor Mary Walingo who later addressed them at the university’s main campus, promising to address all their issues.

The students’ leaders Mr Justus Dikirr, Mr Moses Nkamasiai, and Mr Clement Nkaanti faulted the University for failing to pay the lecturers, arguing that it has collected more than Sh200 million in school fees.

"We are wondering why they are not being paid yet we have paid fees," said Mr Dikirr who led the demonstrations.

"The country and our parents must know we are being 'wasted' yet fees has been paid. Corruption is running the university; money meant to pay lecturers is stolen by senior officials." said Mr Dikirr.

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