By Quincy Thuo
Bottomline: “Were the politicians part of the interviewing panel now that they go around telling everyone that Professor Kosgey came first?”
North rift leaders have continued to mount pressure on the cabinet secretary for education Dr. Fred Matiang’i to confirm Professor Isaac Sanga Kosgey, the current Deputy Vice Chancellor; Administration, Finance and Development in Laikipia University. Led by Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandagor, Kapseret legislator Oscar Sudi and controversial Nandi hills legislator Alfred Keter launched a week long war of words with Dr. Matiang’i, Speaking to the press on Saturday 24th September 2016 they insisted that they are not tribalists, they will not apologise to anyone and Professor Kosgey must succeed Professor Richard Mibey has the next vice chancellor come what may since he was the first based on merit according to the interview. “We will send Matiang’i back to Kisii if he continues to force someone upon us”, said an obviously enraged Keter who demanded for an affirmative action since no Kalenjin is a Vice Chancellor in any Kenyan University. This was in response to an ultimatum by the cabinet secretary for Interior Coordination of National Government Joseph Nkaiseri demanding a public apology by the leaders and condemnation by National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) chair Francis Ole Kaparo who termed their act as tribal. This comes after their bid to stop the university 32nd Graduation which was presided over by Professor Laban Ayiro failed last week after students and security forces backed the Vice Chancellor enabling for smooth procession.
Trouble began when the two governors, Jackson Mandagor and his Elgeyo Marakwet counterpart Alex Tolgos alongside Kapseret legislator Oscar Sudi led other leaders to storm Moi university main campus administration block just a day after Professor Laban Ayiro was appointed the acting Vice Chancellor by Dr. Matiang’i. Their bid to stop the newly appointed acting Vice chancellor Laban Ayiro from taking over. Kapseret legislator Oscar Sudi, further warned that , “we will cut all trees and use all means possible to stop the graduation from taking place on Friday.”
This clearly depicts another case of ethnic rivalry in higher education. The leaders want Kosgey appointed since he is from their ethnic background, while Laban Ayiro hails from Vihiga County which is predominantly occupied by the Luhya community. Questions arise over who topped the interview? What names were forwarded to Dr. Matiang’i by the university council for consideration? Were the politicians’ part of the interviewing panel now that they go around telling everyone that Professor Kosgey came first?
The leaders had earlier met Ayiro and University council chairman, Professor Jenesio Kinyamario. It is alleged that they vehemently warned against the acting vice chancellor assuming power and demanded the confirmation of three thousand five hundred casual labourers. Dr. Matiang’i has maintained that he named the acting vice chancellor in accordance to laws governing the Universities.
Speculation was rife among corridors of power that Professor Nathan Ongechi, the Deputy Vice Chancellor Students Affairs had been appointed on Friday 16th September 2016 to hold the position of the vice chancellor also in acting capacity. This speculation didn’t withstand the test of time as Professor Laban Ayiro was appointed to the position. The vice chancellor succession debacle seems to be far from over, considering that principal School of Public Health Sciences Professor Fabian Esamai was also appointed in acting capacity before Professor Mibey was recalled from retirement. This means that Moi University has had three different acting vice chancellors in a span of three months. Professor Laban Ayiro was sworn in on Wednesday 21st September as acting vice chancellor ahead of the two day graduation ceremony on Thursday and Friday.
Both local and non-local students are once again irked and irritated by yet another case of tribal favouritism in the school. Such an act is seen as uncouth and unorthodox especially since it was perpetrated by Uasin Gishu leaders. These local leaders seem to interfere in university administration and have led to its mismanagement.
It is worth to note that Olive Mwihaki Mugenda; former Vice Chancellor of Kenyatta university won her accolades and took over the Vice Chancellor post out of her exemplary educational achievements ,not based on tribal basis. She has also brought so much development to the university. Such a shame especially from persons who are supposed to be role models to the community. It is a barbaric aperture and an inclination of uncivillization from the leaders.
This country should rise above ethnic bigotry, reserving government posts to people of your ethnic group is a rampant practice that has compromised efficiency in service delivery due to low levels of competency and increased alienation of the ethnic minorities who are locked out thus cultivating seeds of resentment leading to genocide. The government through the president and the cabinet secretaries should find a way of regulating numbers of workers from the same ethnicity in universities as outlined in the National Cohesion and Integration Commission that raised the red flag on irregular and biased recruitment in our higher of learning institutions. A proper system of vetting should be put in place to ensure those holding government positions do so by merit nothing else.
The Writer is a first year Journalism Student