Medical students and the Kisumu County government are embroiled in a tussle after a leading hospital barred the learners from its premises over “fear of destruction of property”.
Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) Kisumu campus students were last week barred from accessing Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH) in what the management termed as a precautionary measure to guard against the destruction of its property.
The bad blood reportedly emanated from a county event two Weeks ago that was blocked by the students protesting encroachment of their institution’s land.
The learners caused massive destruction of property and blocked Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o from presiding over a ground breaking ceremony for the construction of a Sh400 million cancer centre on the parcel of land.
Due to the fear of further destructions, the management of JOOTRH, through an internal memo dated May 14, 2019, barred the students from accessing its facilities. This has caused anxiety among the students.
On Monday, they planned a demonstration to air their grievances but the protest was temporarily suspended to give room for dialogue.
The memo was signed by JOOTRH Director of Finance and Administration Allan Omondi and sent to all heads of departments.
“Due to the pending issues between Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) and the risk of destruction of hospital property by students, it has been decided that KMTC students, Kisumu Campus be barred from visiting and accessing any hospital premises until the matter is resolved,” the memo read.
On Monday, the students’ representative Sebastian Kalapata said they temporarily suspended their protest as the college principal was scheduled to meet with Governor Nyong’o in Nairobi.
“We have just suspended the demos temporarily owing to the governor’s agreement to have talks with the school’s administration this morning. We are still waiting for the outcome of the dialogue,” said Mr Kalapata.
He went on, “The access of the clinical area is the student’s right to education. We want KMTC Kisumu campus to be given its own land title deed.”
The student council has asked for the dismissal of JOOTRH CEO, Dr Peter Okoth, with immediate effect, terming his actions as “irrational and biased”.
Governor Nyong’o had last Week faulted KMTC board chairman, Prof Philip Kaloki, accusing of “inciting the students to violently destroy property and sabotage the governor’s function”.
Prof Kaloki denied the claims, insisting that he had helped quell tension at the institution on the day of protests.