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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Tribalism fears in varsity DVC appointment

After the elevation of Peter Mbithi to vice chancellor of University of Nairobi, the race is now on for his replacement with three candidates emerging. The three are Isaac Kibwage of the college of Health Sciences, Enos Njeru who is the principal of Humanities and Social sciences and Benard Njoroge who is the principal of the college of Architecture and Engineering and who is brother of Energy PS Joseph Njoroge.
According to the Universities Act, the university council forwards three names to the cabinet secretary of Education to be considered for appointment. At the University of Nairobi, there are four deputising positions currently held by Lucy Irungu a Kikuyu, Isaac Mbeche; a Kisii, Henry Mutoro; a Luhya and another yet to be filled. It is against this background that the cabinet secretary is expected to consider a person from a community other than the ones the above hail from. Given the equation of ethnic balance Prof Njeru who comes from the minority Mbeere seems advantaged.
Should they appoint Kibwage, there would be two Kisiis out four while appointing Njoroge will mean having two Kikuyus out of four. For Njeru, he would be the only Mbeere and the only one representing minorities in top university administrative structure. Apart from Irungu occupying the position of deputy vice chancellor in charge of research, Kikuyus hold positions of chief finance officer, chief internal auditor, chief legal officer, chief security officer, dean of students and academic registrar.
It is also emerging that there were claims that the council was not fair in their ranking and money exchanged hands apart from accusations the interviewing panel is dominated by four Kikuyus out 10 members. Njoroge was promoted to full professor three weeks ago and never served as dean. He is also the principal of the smallest college with a population of less than 2000 students and 50 lecturers. Kibwage has been a full professor for seven years and previously served as dean School of Pharmacy and the principal of College of Health Sciences which is the second largest where he has overseen major infrastructural developments .
Njeru who heads the College of Humanities has been a full professor for eight years and presides over the largest college that controls over 60pc of UON. The college has over 45,000 students and over 800 members of the academic staff. The college has five campuses namely; Main campus, Kisumu Campus, Mombasa Campus, Parklands Campus and Lower Kabete campus.