Kaimenyi tells politicians to keep off university management
19 March 2015, 22:31
Nairobi – Education Cabinet Secretary, Jacob Kaimenyi has told politicians to keep off the university management in their counties as it contributes to the witnessed protests by university students.
Kaimenyi claimed that the politicians’ involvement in the independent university management is causing ethnic divisions among students, local communities and non-local staff in the institutions of higher learning thereby disrupting learning.
Citing from the recent chaotic University of Eldoret (UoE) students’ protest that was led by Uasin Gishu Senator, Isaac Melly pushing for removal of the varsity’s Vice Chancellor Teresa Akenga on claims of spearheading tribal appointments of staff, the CS said the move was against the law.
“These universities are international not regional. I have already said this University of Eldoret is under threat from leaders. Let us respect these institutions as required by law to manage the universities, to work together but not to marginalize some Kenyans,” Kaimenyi told the Senate Education Committee.
The Universities Act 2012 provides seven legal organs in university management including the sponsor (government), Board of Trustees, the Chancellor, the Council, the Senate, Board of Management and the Student Management.
Also read: Tribal imbalances rife in university staffing
Since the seven organs play an oversight role over the other, Kaimenyi said nepotism, incompetency and mismanagement allegations against Akenga by the Senator and students were baseless from an aftermath investigation report conducted by a team from the Education ministry.
“We sent a team of our officers to investigate allegations against the Vice Chancellor and from the report we got there was not concrete or substantial evidence on claims against that lady,” Kaimenyi said as he handed a copy of the report to the chair of the commitee, Dickson Karaba.
The CS defended Akenga over claims of incompetency in running the institution and held that the Vice Chancellor was fairly and competitively appointed after meeting the laid down qualification to the position.
Ethnic divisions emanated between western and Rift Valley senators leading to a heated argument during the committee’s meeting regarding allegations laid on the Vice Chancellor.
Bungoma Senator, Moses Wetang’ula and his Kakamega counterpart, Bonny Khalwale accused the Rift Valley senators of attempting to remove Akenga from the university because she hails from western and “she is not of their own.”
“We are aware that a distinguished member of this House driven by ethnic consideration led a gang of hooligans, youths and goons to University of Eldoret to attack and flush out the Vice Chancellor but to date the ministry has not request the police to investigate this criminal act,” Wetang’ula said amid heated reaction from Rift Valley led by Stephen Sang’ (Nandi) and Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet).
Khalwale asked the CS to ensure more funds are provided to UoE as request by the Vice Chancellor for permanent employment of some staff working on temporarily in the institution. Khalwale claimed most of the employees on temporary employment are locals and that this could have sparked the recent chaotic students’ protest.
However, the Rift Valley senators refuted claims of propagating ethnicity in the management of the institution and warned that every public officer in management position has to be held accountable without bringing in the tribal issue.
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