Former Education CS Fred Matiangí has appointed substantive Vice Chancellors in six public universities.

In a letter dated January 26, and seen by the Standard, the now Interior CS appointed the VCs for Rongo University, Machakos University, University of Embu, Kenyatta University, Kirinyaga University and Muranga university respectively.

In the changes Prof Mary Ndungu will now head Kirinyaga, Prof Samuel Gudu (Rongo), Prof Dickson Nyariki (Muranga), Prof Daniel Njiru (Embu) and Prof Paul Wainaina (Kenyatta University) respectively.

Wainaina has been acting as vice-chancellor at Kenyatta University since the retirement of his predecessor Prof Olive Mugenda.

Apart from the appointment of the Vice Chancellors, Matiang’i also appointed the chairpersons of the same university councils.

Dr Joyce Mutinda (Machakos), Dr Joachim Osur (Muranga), Dr Shem Adhola (Kenyatta) and Dr Margaret Mumbi Guchuhi (Embu).

However, Moi University, Cooperative University and Taita Taveta University are still having Vice Chancellors in an acting capacity.

And now a tough choice now awaits the new Education CS Amina Mohamed in appointing a substantive vice-chancellor of Moi University following the conclusion of interviews on last year November.

The protests stemmed out of leakage of the results by council members to political leaders and candidates that Kosgei had topped the first interview.

The University Council chaired by Jeremiah Ntoloi Koshal had interviewed six candidates and ranked Isaac Kosgei as the best candidate scoring 76 per cent while acting Vice-Chancellor Laban Ayiro came second with 70 per cent.

Prof Anne Nangulu who is the deputy chief executive officer at the Commission for University Education (CUE) emerged third, also with 70 per cent.

Amina is required by law to appoint a vice-chancellor from three names that will be presented to him by the council.

The six universities which have now received VCs were part of the nine public universities in the country which did not have substantive leaders.

The absence of the VCs have made it difficult for them to make executive decisions for their respective institutions.

Most of them acting in the positions were candidates likely to be interviewed by the respective universities councils, lack courage and confidence to make hard decisions that they may consider unpopular in a bid to get to get confirmed.

Best human resource practices require that those in acting capacities hold the positions for about six months during which time the appointing authority should put in place a mechanism for competitive recruitment.

According to the Universities Act 2012, the recruitment of Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellors and principals of constituent colleges must be done through a competitive process by respective councils that are appointed by Education Cabinet Secretary.

In March last year the CS announced the constitution of new University Councils for 22 public institutions following the expiry of the tenure of existing councils.

In August, 2015, the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) through its Chairperson, Francis Ole Kaparo proclaimed that public universities have turned out to be incubators of tribalism.

However, a closer look at the phenomenon indicates that successive governments had encouraged this trend by rewarding ethnically correct individuals to senior management positions in the various varsities.

In a scene that perhaps set the stage for such confrontations, Maasai leaders in 2013 successfully ejected Prof David Serem (A Kalenjin) from Maasai Mara University claiming that the locals were not sufficiently represented in the institution.

He was subsequently barred from participating in a fresh recruitment process.

In February, 2015, former Uasin Gishu Senator Isaac Melly would also lead a group into University of Eldoret in protest of the appointment of Prof Teresa Akenga (A Luhya) as VC.

– By Rawlings Otieno

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