Moi University at Main Campus where a female student was found sexually assaulted and murdered last night has a big problem with accommodation of students that if not checked will continue to expose more students to danger as they navigate the treacherous and dimly lit paths to their far flung living dormitories.
To start with, Moi University in the last two years has been admitting the highest number of new students. This has been happening despite the fact that the university has stalled hostels creating acute shortage of residential spaces. Every new year is a nightmare to continuing students who struggle to get rooms within safer university halls, a struggle that has seen students protest the inadequacies with many suspended or even expelled in the process.
Several hostel structures, many abandoned at the foundation level, dot the landscape of the institution. Many of these structures are however believed to have been completed as monies that were meant for their construction said to have been pilfered during the time of one Dr. James Sang, a long serving chief administrative officer of the university, a post which has since been disbanded.
The university, much as people think is located near Eldoret town, is very far from town – some 35 kilometres – and in a village in the middle of nowhere. Whenever students miss rooms within the coveted university halls of residence, they are forced to look for alternative residential arrangements, often ending up living amidst villagers.
In the recent years, the university took to renting houses which private developers have since constructed around the university and turning them into hostels. Some of these hostels are over a kilometer from the university compound and are not covered by the university security. What this means is that students who live in these private houses are left to cater for their own security, abandoned to their own devices.
The late Charity Maina, whose lifeless body was found lying close to one of these outside-the-university hostels, is just but the latest victim. Many students have been attacked by opportunistic narcissists roaming the university when darkness falls. Most of these students are caught unaware as they return from the university library late in the night or from group discussions in lecture halls.
Students living among villagers has also faced the wrath of the villagers who feel – and honestly so – that the entry of university money has made life in the village very expensive for them. Villagers find it difficult to keep with high prices of commodities charged on students whom service providers around the university often mistake to have lots of money.
Many students also have markedly different dressing codes to villagers. While female students in most universities dress scantly, Moi University’s location at the heart of a village in Kesses has often led to student-villagers confrontations, as each side attempt to determine the acceptable mode of dressing. At night, these confrontations can lead to sexual assault, as villagers justify the attacks on ‘nudity’.
But the lack of accommodation spaces to students is the worst danger to the students, especially the female students. Each academic year, the university admits over 5000 new students many of whom end up at the Main Campus. As population rises, and living spaces get exhausted, many students are sent to dangerous areas to seek own accommodation. This is often the genesis of rapists preying on students.
The worst hit are often parallel (self-sponsored) students and senior undergraduate students who have to make room for government-sponsored students and newly admitted students respectively.