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UoN Senate endorses Prof Mbeche's takeover as acting VC

Monday January 20 2020

UoN Profs Isaac Mbeche and Peter Mbithi

Outgoing University of Nairobi Vice-Chancellor Prof Peter Mbithi (R) hands over to Prof Isaac Mbeche, who was appointed in acting capacity, July 5, 2019. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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The University of Nairobi Senate has endorsed Prof Isaac Meroka Mbeche's appointment as acting vice-chancellor, as directed by Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha.

The endorsement on Monday was on the backdrop of leadership wrangles, with Prof Stephen Kiama insisting he is in charge yet Prof Magoha revoked his appointment last Friday.

Prof Kiama was barred from accessing the VC’s office and performing the duties the post carries.

Prof Mbeche said he was in charge of the institution and that he was undertaking mandates.

“This morning, I chaired the a meeting of the senate, which endorsed my appointment. I have also met student leaders and other stakeholders to assure them that all is well,” he said.



Students’ association Secretary-General Gideon Majiwa said they supported CS Magoha's move.

Mr Majiwa noted that the legal process of appointing the VC required more time.

The institution's chapter of the Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu) also backed cancellation of Prof Kiama's appointment.

Uasu explained that at the time of the designation, the information they had did not indicate gaps in the requisite minimum threshold of independence, professionalism, consultation and transparency required for such appointments.


Uasu Secretary George Omondi said they would work with Prof Mbeche to allow adequate consultation at all levels as described in the legal process of finding a substantive VC.

“Uasu reiterates its support for a transparent process devoid of shortcuts, grandstanding and pursuit of individual interests, as opposed to the larger interests of the institution,” said Mr Omondi.

The union also urged the appointing authority to choose a person with the ability to solve the university’s financial challenges.

It noted that this person must be incorruptible, respect authority and due processes and be committed to the institution.

Mr Omondi further requested the government to immediately reconstitute the council to restore order and allow the institution to move forward.


CS Magoha said Prof Kiama would continue dispensing his duties as the deputy VC in charge of human resource and administration.

Gem member of Parliament Elisha Odhiambo urged him to respect the ministry and allow completion of the legal process of appointing a VC.

In a statement on Friday, Prof Kiama insisted he was in charge of the university and that official communication would only come from him.

The professor noted that he was lawfully and validly appointed and would continue to discharge his duties.

"Do not be given to acts of lawlessness as the peace and stability of the university are important to us all. As such, I continue in diligent service as your vice-chancellor and remain available to you all for guidance and direction," he said.