MP tells leaders to keep off Masinde Muliro University VC hiring

EDUCATION |
Navakholo MP Emanuel Wangwe. [File, Standard]

National Assembly Majority Whip Emanuel Wangwe has claimed a scheme to interfere with ongoing recruitment of a vice chancellor and deputy vice chancellors of Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST).

Mr Wangwe accused Migori Governor Okoth Obado and Senator Ochilo Ayacko of allegedly scheming to impose their preferred candidate on the university.

The Navakholo MP claimed the two leaders were behind propaganda that one of the candidates had been picked to take up the leadership of the institution.

“As a matter of fact, we are alarmed that some of our colleagues, who are pushing for one of their own to run MMUST, spread fake news hoodwinking the public with unrealistic congratulatory messages,” said Wangwe.

“…we must caution that we are duly aware of their futile scheme. We urge them to desist from spreading fake news or attempting to interfere with the recruitment. We will resist all dishonest schemes to impose unpopular and unqualified leadership at MMUST,” he added.

He asked politicians to desist from interfering with the running of public universities citing the hiring of Moi University Vice Chancellor.

He made the remarks during a press briefing at Parliament Buildings.

The Public Service Commission (PSC) has started conducting interviews to fill the four vacant positions at MMUST.

The commission has since interviewed and shortlisted candidates for the position of the Vice Chancellor, Deputy Vice Chancellor – Academic and Students Affairs, Deputy Vice Chancellor Planning, Research and Innovation. The interviews were conducted between August 10 and 13.

Those interviewed for the Vice Chancellor slot include acting VC Solomon Shibairo, Prof Kenneth Simala, Prof Mary Avukutsa, Prof Peter Mwita, Prof Sibilikhe Makhanu, Prof Joseph Chacha and Prof Paul Shiundu.

The commission is expected to submit names of top three candidates to the university council for appointment. The council is required to consult with the Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha before settling in the name.

Wangwe claimed that Obado and Ayacko were behind social media posts congratulating Prof Chacha for allegedly being recommended by PSC for the top university post. He said it was puzzling that politicians from far-flung areas were trying to interfere with the recruitment process.

The university has been without a substantive VC since December 1, 2018, following the exit of Prof Fredrick Otieno (now deceased).

The institution has had three acting vice-chancellors since then. Prof Shibairo, formerly Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Academics and Students Affairs at Kibabii University, is occupying the position in an acting capacity.

He took over from Asenath Sigot, who had held the position for nine months. Prof Sigot succeeded Joseph Bosire in July last year.

The university has also been without three deputy vice-chancellors since October 2018.

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