• VC position in a premier university such as the UoN is expectedly compounded with interest and scrutiny.
• University councils know better about the aspirations of the university and the people who would fit that position.
The vice-chancellorship is a key organ of a university with trappings that come with a mouthful share of leadership challenges.
The position in a premier university such as the University of Nairobi is expectedly compounded with interest and scrutiny from varied stakeholders within and outside the varsity.
To attain the three key roles a university is meant for–teaching, research and community outreach, it is, therefore, necessary to re-examine the legal instruments and procedures applied in meritocratic search of the right person to lead to the optimal reach of this high call. In the amendment to the principal law, the Universities Act, 2012 (miscellaneous, 2008) that underpins governance of universities, the University Council’s recruitment role was accorded to the Public Service Commission.
This has brought a number of demerits. It increased the entities involved in the recruitment process–advertisement, short-listing, interviewing, nomination and selection of best of three nominees bringing complexity and time taken to arrive at the best candidate. The move may also not squarely manage to get a person capable of syncing with the foundational and established philosophy of the university.
Such would have been prevented if the council, which ought to fully understand the history and aspirations of the university was fully in charge of the recruitment as it was before the legal review.
The control of confidential information from unintended consumers especially during the interviewing and nomination phases may be mitigated if parties in the recruitment process are reduced. The current leadership state of affairs at the UoN should be embraced notwithstanding the positions taken by different factions.