Revealed: How University of Nairobi VC candidates were scored

Acting Vice-Chancellor University of Nairobi Prof Stephen Kiama and students. [Samson Wire/Standard]
Details of confidential scores of candidates interviewed for University of Nairobi Vice Chancellor’s job have emerged, amid a row over who should be in charge of the institution.

The Standard can today report specific scores of the candidates and how the Public Service Commission (PSC) panellists individually rated them.

The interview results are in order of performance, where embattled VC appointee Prof Kiama Gitahi (pictured) emerged the best, scoring 80.44 marks, among the eight shortlisted individuals.

There were eight panellists, with Prof Kiama scoring above 80 marks from six of the panellists.

SEE ALSO :Prof Kiama appointed UoN VC

Only two panellists scored Prof Kiama at 66.5 and 65 respectively, the others ranked him 81, 86, 87, 88, 82 and 88.

Prof Madara Ogot came second with an average of 79.31, getting 77.5, 81, 84, 81, 70, 87, 70 and 84.

Prof Patricia Kameri Mbote, coming third, scored an average of 78.44, with 75.5, 80, 84, 74, 69, 85 and 80.

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The acting VC Prof Isaac Mbeche scored 77. 94, with 73.5, 82, 72, 70, 70, 95, 91 and 70.

The details are contained in confidential correspondence by PSC chair Stephen Kirogo to the disbanded University Council chairperson Prof Julia Odhiambo.

Prof Elijah Omwenga with 76.13 scored as follows; 76.5, 78, 74, 74, 79, 72, 76 and 79.6; while Prof Solomon Shibairo, with an average of 70.56, got 67.5, 71, 72, 74, 75, 61, 70 and 74.

In position seven was Prof Benard Njoroge scoring an average of 70.13 with 71, 70, 73, 67, 77, 48, 86 and 69 from the eight panellists.

Not interviewed

According to the PSC, Prof Kareithi Nduati was not interviewed as she did not present clearance forms from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).

“The purpose of this letter, therefore, is to forward the interview results to you to facilitate the appointment of the VC, UoN after consultations with the Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Education Prof George Magoha,” read the letter dated December 30th 2019 in part, as Kirogo asked Prof Ojiambo to take the necessary action.

He explained that following the declaration of vacancy in the office of the VC via Prof Ojiambo’s letter dated 23rd September 2019, and pursuant  to the provisions of section 35(1) (a) (v) of the Universities Act, 2012 and the Statute Law (Miscellaneous  Amendments ) Act 2018, PSC undertook a competitive recruitment exercise.

“We advertised the position on October 29th, 2019. By the closure of the advert on November 19th, 2019, 14 applications were received in response to the advertisement,” he explained.

Kirogo said out of 14 applicants, eight candidates were shortlisted.

Those who did not make the interview cut included Prof Duke Omondi Otara, Prof Maurice Amutabi, Prof Isaiah Omolo Ndiege, Prof Julius Onyango Ochuodho, Prof Collins Ogutu Miruka and Prof Shitanda Douglas.

Names published

“The names of all the applicants together with the shortlisted candidates and interviews schedule were published on December 11th, 2019 in two daily newspapers and commission’s website,” stated the PSC chairman.

He affirmed that the public was invited to submit credible information against any of the shortlisted candidates.

“The commission conducted the interviews on December 18th and set the pass mark at 60 per cent. All the eight shortlisted candidates turned up for interviews,” he stated.

After VC interviews are conducted by the PSC, the proposed names are sent to the universities councils, which are expected to make the necessary appointment in consultation with the Cabinet Secretary in charge of Education.

Under the amended Universities Act, the recruitment of VCs and their deputies in public universities is conducted by the PSC, which forwards the names of successful candidates to the council.

The amended law - Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendment) Act, 2018 - moved the critical function to the commission, which must also vet the candidates and then recommend them for appointment.

This means that the council ought to consult the Education CS, currently Prof George Magoha, before issuing any appointment letter.

The council appointed Prof Kiama as vice-chancellor, a decision that was overturned by Prof Magoha, precipitating the crisis that has engulfed the University of Nairobi.

On one hand, is Prof Kiama who insists he is the bonafide head of the university and on the other hand is Prof Magoha who insists Kiama’s selection was flawed, and hence invalid.

Magoha wants Prof Mbeche to continue as the acting VC.

The Ministry of Education moved to court, through Darius Ogutu Mogaka, the director of university education, asking the court to lift orders issued to Prof Kiama allowing him to occupy the VC’s office.

It also argues that the university has been left in limbo as Prof Mbeche cannot perform his functions as acting vice-chancellor as Prof Kiama is representing himself as legitimate VC. The case will be heard today before Justice Maureen Onyango.

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UoN VC jobPublic Service CommissionProf Kiama Gitahi