University students are opting out of biotechnology courses due to fears they might not get internship and jobs after graduation due to the ongoing ban on genetically modified (GMO) food crops by the government.

The students, mainly from University of Nairobi, Kenyatta University, Egerton University, Moi University and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, accused the government of putting their careers on the line by playing politics with the matter.

In a statement read by University of Nairobi Students Union Chairman Babu Owino, the studenrs said the ban was affecting them due to the uncertainty clouding the course that entails intensive research of the GMO products.

Other student leaders present during the press conference at Serena Hotel, Nairobi included Sam Were (Kenyatta), Towett Ng’etich (Moi), Doreen Mwenda (Kenyatta), Anyungu Wanyungu (JKUAT) and Antony Mumo (Egerton).

The students gave the government an ultimatum, that failure to reverse the decision by end of January next year, they will organise a massive strike across all public universities.

“The power of the people is stronger than the people in power. We will give an ultimatum as from January even if it means going to the streets to protect the rights of our students,” Mr Owino said.

They questioned why the government was paying lecturers and admitting students to take the course, if it does not recognise its graduates.

The National Environment Management Authority’s (Nema) was criticised for declining to issue a permit for GMO field trials to the Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO).