Complex process of naming VCs marred with politics, graft

After candidates are selected, their names are sent to CS for appointment

In Summary

• Appointment of Vice Chancellors, their deputies and principals are marred with corruption allegations, court battles and politics. 

• Named UoN VC will serve in acting capacity despite revocation of his appointment by Education CS Magoha.  

Prof Stephen Kiama.
CONTROVERSY: Prof Stephen Kiama.

The leadership row at the University of Nairobi is unfortunate for 'a world-class university committed to scholarly excellence' as the varsity motto states.

Last week, Education CS Prof Magoha, who claimed to act on orders from above, revoked the appointment of Professor Steven Kiama and instead reinstated Prof Isaac Mbeche on acting capacity. But Mbeche's takeover at the largest and oldest university in Kenya could not last long as court reinstated the appointment of Kiama as the substantive Vice Chancellor.

I understand that the selection of top managers in any institution is not a walk in the park and takes some time. It is a process that involves advertising the vacant position(s), shortlisting the candidates, conducting interviews and submitting recommendations to the Education Cabinet secretary for appointment.

The procedure was done previously by the university council but the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act, 2018 gave the powers to the Public Service Commission.

Both parties firmly hold grounds that the process was free and fair. PSC claims that Prof Kiama had best scores in the interviews while the council believed and appointed him to be at the helm of the prestigious university having prior notified the Cabinet secretary on the decision.

No doubt the appointments of Vice Chancellors, their deputies and principals are marred with corruption allegations, court battles and politics. For instance, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology has been led by acting top managers for the past year and the process of appointing substantive Vice Chancellor could even take longer.

The top managers oversee the functioning of the varsities and are the custodians of billions in assets, revenue and grants of the varsities. It's now time we rethink of the appointments of top institutions' managers. The appointment does not necessarily need to have 'orders from the above'. 

Measures need to taken as soon as possible to ensure it doesn't take long for the appointment of VCs