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UoN rejection of CS Amina’s appointees reeks of blackmail

By Collins Musanga | Feb 5th 2019 | 2 min read

A leadership row is looming at the University of Nairobi after the institution’s council rejected the appointment of three deputy vice chancellors by Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed.

The university council, which advertised, shortlisted and carried out interviews before forwarding a list of three names for each position, has accused the CS of bypassing the people they awarded high scores in favour of those who fared dismally.

The council is particularly not happy that the CS appointed Prof Mohamed Jama (Finance, Planning and Development) Prof William Ogara (Human Resource and Research) and Prof Lydia Njenga (Production and Extension). The council had earmarked Prof Isaac Mbeche, Prof Stephen Kiama and Prof Madara Ogot to fill these positions.

The regulations guiding the appointment of vice chancellors and deputy vice chancellors affords the CS discretion in appointing anyone of the three persons nominated to a vacant position taking into account scoring sheets, gender considerations and diversity.

The law also allows the CS to decline to accept recommended names of all the three where the procedure is irregular, illegal or violates the fair administrative principle.

The argument that the CS disregarded all nominees by the council is not correct. The fact is, she appointed three from the shortlist forwarded to her on the basis of diversity and gender consideration and picked Prof Julius Ogeng’o on the basis of the score awarded by the council. 

Amina did not take part in advertising for these positions. She did not participate in shortlisting. Neither did she sit in the panel that interviewed individuals that were being considered for appointment. Why then should the university council be uncomfortable when anyone is appointed from a list they had sieved through?

The university council ought to have been alive to the fact that all individuals they featured on the list of three names submitted to the CS had equal chances of being appointed. The council, out of naivety, had assumed that the individuals they awarded highest scores were automatic favorites for appointment.

In that case what then would be the essence of submitting three names? The wisdom behind submitting three names was created to give the CS the latitude to rationalise any biases that may have been occasioned by a partisan university council. 

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