Tight security at Moi University to lock out politicians from attending graduation

Politicians were yesterday barred from attending the 32nd Moi University graduation ceremony.

The decision was reached following threats by the North Rift politicians to disrupt the event because of a row involving the appointment of Laban Ayiro as the acting vice chancellor.

During the ceremony at the university's main campus in Kesses, security was heightened as police officers, some in riot gear, were stationed as far as Cheptiret trading center, 9km away from the venue.

On Tuesday, North Rift leaders including Governor Jackson Mandago and his Elgeyo Marakwet counterpart Alex Tolgos, and a host of MPs, stormed the institution protesting against Prof Ayiro's appointment.

And perhaps aware of the tight security that awaited them on graduation day; the local politicians gave the ceremony a wide berth.

The officers, both uniformed and plain clothes, confirmed to The Standard that they had firm instructions not to allow any politician, into the institution unless they had someone graduating.

Vehicles were not allowed into the institution and all guests were frisked at the main gate.

"We are under instructions not to let in any politicians," said a security officer who declined to be named.

At the graduation pavilion, the ceremony was presided over by Chancellor Miriam Were, with academicians donning their ceremonial regalia and occupying the main dais. There was not a politician in sight.

Prof Were asked politicians and leaders to inculcate brotherhood and invest in the development of learning institutions by encouraging ethnic cohesion among Kenyans.

The chancellor said a cohesive environment created an impetus for rapid development, and asked politicians to desist from interfering with learning institutions.

"I am calling on Kenyans to treat each other as a neighbor, brother and sister for a cohesive nation. As graduates, you should think of yourselves as Kenyans," she said.

Noting that the university bears the name of the second President of the republic, Daniel Arap Moi, who preached peace, the chancellor urged the university fraternity to emulate the former President's clarion call for a united country.

"This is the kind of support Moi University should have as we move forward to address any emerging issues through unity and commitment," she said.

Were said the university was a source of knowledge, development and inspiration for many graduates as it was the only institution in Africa with an aerospace programme. She said the Government had pumped in many resources towards the development of the facility to achieve its core mandate.

Some 23 graduates were awarded with doctorate degrees and over 4,500 others with various degrees and diplomas.

University Council Chairman Jenesio Kinyamario and other education stakeholders were present at the graduation.