Uasu raises concern over delay to appoint varsity VC

MMU Uasu chapter Secretary General Onesmus Mutio (centre).  He said 41 candidates applied for the VC slot but 11 were shortlisted. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

The University Academic Staff Union (Uasu) has raised concern over the delay by the government to appoint a substantive Vice Chancellor for Multi-Media University (MMU).

Uasu urged Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu to urgently pick a replacement for Prof Feustus Kaberia who retired in January.

MMU Uasu chapter Secretary General Onesmus Mutio said the delay was suspicious as the Public Service Commission (PSC) had unveiled a list of candidates who were interviewed six months ago for the VC position. 

Uasu claimed that the appointment process was delayed after it was hijacked by the political class interested in having their point men in the leadership of the university.

According to the PSC list seen by The Standard, 11 candidates interviewed for the VC position were Prof Nyaga Mbatia, Prof Benard Moirongo, Prof Mary Abuktsa Onyango, Prof Francis Nyamu Wachira, Prof Rosebella Maranga and Prof Godfrey Mse.

Others are Prof Joseph Chacha, Prof Joseph Kiplangat, Prof Joseph Bosire, Prof Peter Mwita and Prof Mary J. Kipsat.

Mutio said 41 candidates applied for the VC slot but 11 were shortlisted for the interviews in December last year.

“Of concern, six months after the interviews were concluded and the ranking list sent to the University Council the new holder of the VC position has not been appointed,” he said.

He revealed that Uasu wrote to the Head of Public Service Felix Koskei in January highlighting the irregularities in the appointment process and he promised to investigate the concerns.

An education consultant Charles Njoroge said MMU has challenges that need to be resolved due to the delayed appointment of a new council as the outgoing board's tenure lapsed in October last year.

Njoroge emphasized that the illegalities surrounding the leadership at the institution ought to be streamlined to avoid aggrieved parties from challenging the process.

He said Machogu should rise to the occasion and address the concerns raised to save the institution.

“The university has been operating with an incomplete council as it lacks a substantive chairman as the holder is operating in an acting capacity,” said Njoroge.

He called on investigative agencies to probe claims of favouritism of one candidate on the basis of tribe.

“There are speculations that one candidate is out rightly favoured on the basis of tribe and that the original PSC ranking has been 'doctored' to re-rank the said candidate as number one,” claimed Njoroge.  

Julius Mogire, a legal expert said the appointing authority should effectively engage all the key stakeholders to pre-empt legal battles that could disrupt the stability and smooth transition at the institution.

Mogire cited the Employment Court judgement last month nullifying the appointment of David Nyamboso Nyandoro as the Chief Land Registrar by Lands Principal Secretary Nixon Korir after it was challenged.

He said the court upheld the PSC decision that ranked Peter Mburu Ng’ang’a top.

“Let no mistake occur as it will be an embarrassment if one party moves to court to challenge it,” said Mogire.