ACADEMIC FREEDOM

Economic interest in VC post has drawn political influence

There are economic interests in naming of VCs which has led to the hijacking of the management of universities

In Summary

• Universities are places expected to provide illumination–to open the eyes of society to denounce misuse of power.

• University riots have been become minimal because of democratic progress. 

Illustration of graft.
RESIST POLITICAL INFLUENCE: Illustration of graft.
Image: COURTESY

The leadership crisis at the University of Nairobi has exposed a possibility politics is behind it.

The decision by a Labour court judge to rescind Education CS George Magoha’s revocation of Stephen Kiama as new vice-chancellor hinted that President Uhuru Kenyatta orchestrated the revocation and dissolution of the university’s leadership on the grounds that the decision was undertaken without consulting the government.

In the past, hiring of VC’s was a norm and a tradition in Kenya when we accepted the politicised process in appointing the university bosses on the basis of tribe and region in place of merit.

However, today, the Public Service Commission has the mandate to name a VC. Being not only the oldest but the most prestigious university in the country, UoN should resist attempts to be politicised to evade anarchy through the influence of certain individuals in leadership.

There are economic interests in the naming of VCs which has led to the hijacking of the management of universities. This is because they want to control the tendering processes of billions of university funds.

Partisan politics also must be resisted in universities so as to concentrate on the key mandate. Under today’s regime with a sounding constitution, there should be no callous excesses in our universities as they purport to be engaged in serious scholarly pursuit.

Authoritarian view of loyalty should not be categorically fixed by imprisoning the thinking of the entire establishment including university authorities. Universities are places expected to provide illumination–to open the eyes of society to denounce misuse of power and misrule. 

 

Teaches Media Studies at Moi University