For the last few days, we have seen the University of Nairobi being clouded with a drama in appointing the next Vice-Chancellor (VC). Prof Stephen Kiama was appointed by the UoN council, a decision that was later revoked by CS George Magoha. Magoha, in turn, appointed Prof Isaac Mbeche as the acting VC. The CS also dissolved the UoN Council that nominated Kiama for the VC’s post. When asked, Magoha claimed that he was acting on the president’s orders.
Now, I think Magoha knows that Kiama was legally appointed by the council. He has served as the UoN VC in the past, and he understands how the selection process is carried out. In my opinion, I think Magoha’s action of following the president’s orders undermined his integrity, honesty, and transparency, some of the most important values he has demonstrated in his career.
So I would say that Uhuru or his allies should not make Magoha act like politicians. The president should always separate good public servants from dirty politics and allow them to do their jobs.
This issue is of particular relevance to the Jubilee government because we’re seeing very good civil servants being transformed into politicians. Internal Security CS Fred Matiangi is a good example. He started as a CS of Education, where he made very good reforms by curbing exam cheating and stopping discrimination in the Form 1 selection process.
Later, he was moved to Internal Security, where the president started involving him in dirty politics. These days we hear him criticizing DP William Ruto in political rallies. He is now attending BBI consultative meetings. That is politics, not administration.
From what I understand is that there are two structures in government; the administrative and political structure. The former comprises of individuals appointed to serve in government while the latter comprises of people elected by voters to work in government.
The president should make sure the CSs discharge their administrative duties without being involved in politics. Uhuru appointed them, and so it is his job to protect them at all costs. He should listen to outsiders on how to deal with his cabinet. By doing that, CS Magoha, Matiangi, and Amina Mohammed would perform their jobs well without being disturbed.
So even if the politics are so rough, the government would still continue operating normally. Otherwise, if Uhuru opens his kitchen cabinet to politicians, the CSs are going to be criticized, smeared badly in public. Uhuru should get his house in order. He is the president, not anyone else.