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Machogu reads riot act to UoN council over leadership wrangles

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

The Ministry of Education has told the two warring factions in the University of Nairobi (UoN) to quit squabbling and work together.

For some time now, the university has witnessed leadership tussle pitting the Vice Chancellor Prof Stephen Kiama and the University Council who want him to proceed on compulsory leave.

And now, Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu has warned that the wrangles have gone overboard and likely to hurt the university.

“Moving forward, we can’t allow people to cross the redline, if I have appointed you as a council member, and you are doing your own things, what do you want? Chairman (Amukowa Anangwe) you’ve heard,” the CS said.

Machogu made the remarks on Tuesday evening during a dinner organised by UoN Chancellor Big 5 transformation agenda.

The CS termed the wrangles “silly” saying they threaten reforms and development at the university.

He further took a swipe at some  University Council members for engaging in ‘selfish pursuit’ at the expense of the institution.

During the 100-year celebration of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), Machogu warned the UoN leadership against wrangles.

On Tuesday, he said he had intervened and the University Council and the Vice Chancellor will now work together.

“We have given very clear instructions that the Vice Chancellor and the University Council work together to achieve whatever goals and objectives set out by the University of Nairobi,” he said.

The wrangles have in the last two weeks escalated and threatened to split the university into two factions one in support of the VC while the other one leaning on the University Council.

The leadership tussle stems from the Council’s directive to send Prof Kiama on compulsory leave thrice in under six months.

UoN Council Chairman Amukowa Anangwe said the decision to send the VC on leave was reached on April 19.

On Tuesday, the university academic staff weighed in the leadership wrangles and called on the government to intervene.

Universities Academic Staff Union UoN chapter chairman Richard Bosire urged Machogu to read the riot act to the wrangling parties. 

"We cannot solve this issue if Machogu does not bring these people together and read the riot act. We are urging him to take action and we are willing to support him," Bosire said.

"The government has exceptional capacity through its intelligence and security systems to go deep and be able to establish the root cause of the crisis," he added warning that the wrangles are damaging UoN's reputation. 

In an interview with The Standard on Monday, Prof Kiama dismissed the directive by the council to take leave, arguing that he has the right to choose when to take rest from office duties.

The VC said no council meeting was convened to ratify the directive.

“Some of those communications that you have seen are not necessarily the resolution of the council they are expressions of opinions," he said.

"When the council makes resolutions, they are communicated by the secretary to the council and that is the office of the Vice Chancellor,” the VC added

Kiama’s five-year term in office will lapse in January 2025.

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