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Prof Stephen Kiama appointed UoN Vice Chancellor

By Hillary Orinde | January 5th 2020

Prof. Stephen Gitahi Kiama. He is a holder of Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine (1990) and Master of Veterinary Anatomy (1995) degrees from University of Nairobi, Kenya and Doctor of Philosophy in Structural Biology (2001) from University of Bern, Switzerland. [Courtesy]

The University of Nairobi has appointed its new Vice-Chancellor to effectively end the tussle for the key post.

The varsity’s council chairperson Prof. Julia Ojiambo today said Prof Stephen Gitahi Kiama will head the institution for a five-year term.

“I take this opportunity to thank the Public Service Commission, Council colleagues, the Ministry of Education, the entire university fraternity and Chancellor for according the recruitment process and respective facilitative instruments and agencies a chance,” Prof Ojiambo said.

She went on: “Our warm congratulations to the new Vice Chancellor on this appointment. We also wish to appreciate all who responded to the call for applications for exemplifying enthusiasm, courage, competitive spirit, the devotion of time and effort and their readiness and willingness to offer themselves in service to the University of Nairobi as Vice Chancellor”.

Prof. Kiama will begin his term tomorrow if President Uhuru Kenyatta endorses and announces his appointment.  

He previously served as the UoN Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Human Resource and Administration.

According to the biodata on the varsity’s website, he has 15 years of administrative experience at a senior level in the basic and higher education management.

He also served as a member of University of Nairobi Senate and University Executive Board since 2003 and 2016 respectively.

In 2003, he was appointed as the Associate Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.

Prof Mbithi exit

The vice chancellor vacancy arose after the University Council rejected a request by Prof Peter Mbithi for a second term.

In rejecting the second term request, the council cited the new law occasioned by an amendment to the Universities Act. 

The amendment, which came into force on January 18, 2019, gave the Public Service Commission (PSC) powers to recruit vice chancellors and other senior administrators.

The council wanted Mbithi to reapply for the position. He did not.

“Consequently, within the legislative framework, the council is not in a position to consider, approve and recommend your reappointment as requested in your letter dated May 19, 2019,” read a letter by Prof Julia Ojiambo.

The University Council appointed Isaac Mbeche, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Finance, Planning and Development, as the acting VC.

Eight candidates out of 14 who applied to replace Prof Mbithi were shortlisted for interviews.

They included Prof Benard Kimani Njoroge, Prof Solomon Igosangwa Shibairo, Prof Patricia Kameri Mbote, Prof Madara Ogot, Prof Kareithi Ruth Wanjiru Nduati, Prof Stephen Kiama Gitahi, Prof Elijah Omwenga and Prof Mbeche.

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.

The recruitment process was carried out at the Public Service Commission before the university council.

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