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Give us guns to protect universities, lecturers say

In a proposal with potentially far-reaching consequences to the security and education sectors in the country, lecturers have demanded to be permitted by the law to carry firearms within university precincts.

Some University of Nairobi lecturers say this proposal will not only secure higher education institutions in the country but also create a secure learning environment.

“In the face of terrorism, and with learning institutions being likely soft targets of terrorists, allowing a few lecturers to carry guns will act as a deterrent for terrorist besides providing a ready option of first responders,” says Richard Bosire lecturer, Department of Political Science and Public Administration, University of Nairobi.

In a letter written to the university senate as part of proposals to secure the institution, he says in the tragic incident of Garissa University College in which 147 students died, the presence of responsible and concealed gun carriers would have deterred the terrorists and prevented loss of life.

“We need a paradigm shift on how we handle security issue not only around the country, but particularly in institutions of higher learning. The first option is allow trained lecturers to offer the first line of defence by allowing them to carry guns,,” says Bosire.

The dramatic proposal comes barely a week after the Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet, ruled out deploying police officers in schools and universities, saying he lacks enough manpower to man all institutions in the country.

Speaking last week during the Kenya Secondary School Heads Association annual conference in Mombasa, Boinnet instead advised teachers to hire guards with knowledge of security matters from private firms. He said deploying police officers in all nursery schools, the 7,000 secondary schools, 25,000 primary schools and universities would be an impossible task.

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