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Citizen Weekly

Monday, 15 September 2014

MMUST VICE-CHANCELLOR TRAPPED IN FRESH POWER POWER STRUGGLES



With barely must seven months at the helm of Masinde Muliro University Science and Technology vice-chancellor Prof Fred Otieno is already feeling the heat.

First, the VC is at loggerheads with his own members of the teaching fraternity who accuse him of frustrations. Not spared also is this evolving management crisis at the institution are nonteaching staff. They are said to be demoralised and are always threatened with sacking if they dare question his management and leadership style.

Otieno style of handling the lucrative privately sponsored students programme has seen him make more enemies than friends. For months, the programme has been dogged by controversy and he has at one time suspended PSSP.

The vice-chancellor is also known to manipulate his deputies Prof Egara Kabaji and Roselyne Ngairai to either sing to his tune or find themselves in isolation in the management of the fast growing institution.

Otieno who has a bias in engineering field is accused of perfecting the art of tribalism to consolidate his management. Upon assuming office, he sacked the finance officer and lobbied to have a lecturer with roots from Nyanza land the sensitive and lucrative financial position.
To gather information from perceived critics, the vice-chancellor has made sure friendly office secretaries are posted to work for his enemies while at the same time spying for him.

To control the student fraternity, Otieno made sure, a pro-establishment friendly leaders were elected with the held of dean of students office. Reading his plan, the students revolted and went on strike.

Back to the controversial PSSP, mystery at one time surrounded the whereabouts of Sh110 million which was to pay the staff involved in this programme.
Always known to fly to South Africa where his wife and only child are based, Otieno is said to spend a fortune on travelling all at the expense of the university.

In his operations, he has brought on his board a one Prof Sigot, a person who was fully associated with the dirty happenings of former vice-chancellor Prof Wangila Barasa. Prof Sigot blocked the appointment Prof Enock Amutabi as deputy vice-chancellor Finance in favour of Prof Rotich. Rotich tenure at Moi University was at the centre of negative debate and was thrown out of class by students. Rotich was later to be absorbed into administration at MMUST.
Prof Sigot and Rotich are from the same community. After discovering Prof Amutabi, now holding a senior position at Kisii University was well qualified, Sigot re-advertised and lobbied to have Rotich land in the office.

Staff exodus mainly in the academic field is the order of the day. Private universities have been major beneficiaries by recruiting those out to look for greener pastures.

A list of those Otieno has sacked at MMUST include Mr Walumbeya who was finance officer, a Mr Mutange of salaries department and Reverend Mrs Omwoha who was the dean of students.
As the sackings are taking place, Otieno has been out to reward his cronies. Prof Basil Ong’or a man who openly boasts to remotely run the university has been dismissed in various academic forums.