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Politics

Take Immediate Action : Disquiet at the University of Nairobi

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The current crisis at the University of Nairobi has not gone down well with a section of the staff as students want immediate action taken to remedy the current prevailing situation at the county’s prestigious high institution of learning.
The vice chancellor Peter Mbithi, is accused of running the institution as a private entity, practicing nepotism and engaging in deals that have seen the university operate under a deficit of over Sh2.7 billion.
Stakeholders claim it has taken too long for the Education ministry and key stakeholders to act decisively to nip in the bud the impropriety that has engulfed the institution.
The matter has eventually landed at the Parliamentary Education Committee where Prof Mbithi appeared last week following a request by Navakholo MP Emmanuel Wangwe who sought an inquest in the university’s management affairs bordering on the current financial woes bedeviling it.
Nevertheless, the parliamentary committee which held tough sessions with the university’s top leadership, sources say, the committee is expected to compile and then table a report on the crisis that has almost stalled the university’s operations.
The VC and his deputy Bernard Njoroge alongside other top management team have appeared before the committee.
Last week, Education cabinet secretary Jackob Kaimenyi held two separate meetings with the top university management.
The first meeting was held last week on Friday and was attended by the university’s council members led by chairman Idle Farah. Then on the same day in the afternoon, he held a meeting with the VC and his deputies and other senior management staff. At the talks, the CS according to those present, sounded a reconciliatory tone and pushed for the need for unity.
A source within the parliamentary committee divulged that they will soon retreat to write a report based on allegations of abuse of office by the VC where he has been accused of sacking three senior officers – finance officer Michael Karue, chief internal auditor Peter Igiria and chief legal officer Rebecca Gondo.
They were given hours to vacate their offices. It is said their sacking had elements of victimisation. It is imperative to note that the three were well below their retirement age.
The three appeared last week before the parliamentary committee and one of them almost shed tears as he narrated how they were humiliated and hounded out of office without being given time to defend themselves against the accusations.
The report is also expected to shed light on how the VC approved an expenditure of over Sh10 million to buy furniture for his house and also on the relationship between the VC and his deputy.
Already, the senate is divided and at one of the senate meetings last month, tempers were high forcing the VC to end the meeting prematurely after he was accused of mismanaging the university. He was accused of promoting and rewarding his cronies and sycophants at the expense of service delivery.
At the university, investigations reveal that there are over 52 non-teaching members of staff who have reached the mandatory retirement age of 60 but are still in employment and on the payroll while there are over 100 academic staff that are still in employment and are above the mandatory retirement age of 70 years.


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