Meru University closed indefinitely after students riot following ouster of VC

Meru University

The entrance of the Meru University of Science and Technology.

Photo credit: Charles Wanyoro| Nation Media Group

Meru University of Science and Technology has been shut indefinitely following student unrest.

Acting Vice Chancellor Charity Gichuhi, while ordering all students to vacate the institution, also postponed the March 10 graduation ceremony indefinitely.

The students were rioting following the ouster of VC Romanus Odhiambo who was last week sent on terminal leave amid claims of underperformance.

The students claimed the university council’s decision was political and demanded that the VC be immediately reinstated.

Romanus Odhiambo

Meru University VC Prof Romanus Odhiambo during a past event at the institution. Prof Odhiambo has defended himself after the university council failed to renew his contract citing underperformance. 

Photo credit: David Muchui I Nation Media Group

Students’ organisation president Kariuki Wachira led students in a demo and engaged police in running battles for the better part of Monday morning.

They set a vehicle near on fire near the university gate and blocked the Meru-Maua road.

Prof Odhiambo left on Friday amid protests by a section of students and celebrations by staff unions who accuse the VC of undermining their welfare.

The VC, who joined the university in August 2018, came in amid unending student strikes that led to the killing of a student leader.

Meru university riots

Meru University of Science and Technology students protests at Nchiru, Tigania West on March 6, 2023. The students burnt a vehicle outside the campus gate.

Photo credit: Gitonga Marete I Nation Media Group

Four years and seven months later, the university council gave its verdict: that he had performed below expectation and had to go.

But according to Prof Odhiambo, he has blown exceeded expectations in all performance contract indicators and blames the council decision on political interference.