The University of Nairobi students are on Monday in a celebratory mood upon learning that Professor Mbithi is the new Vice Chancellor. The Cabinet Secretary for Education, Professor Jacob Kaimenyi said that Prof. Mbithi will succeed the out-going VC Prof. Magoha from 6th January 2015.
In a letter of appointment signed by Kaimenyi, reads that “in exercise of the power conferred to me by section 39(1) of the Universities Act, 2012, I hereby appoint you as the Vice-Chancellor, University of Nairobi for a period of five years with effect from 6th January, 2015.”
During the interviews for the job, Professor Mbithi emerged top with 83.5 percent followed by Professor Agnes Mwang’ombe with 77.3 percent and Professor Isaac Mbeche came third with 68 percent.
Students, led by SONU Chairman Babu Owino, had given the Cabinet secretary an ultimatum to appoint Mbithi as the VC after delays and speculation surrounding the appointment. The students were joined by The Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotel, Educational Institutions, Hospitals, and Allied Workers (KUDHEIHA) and Kenya Universities Staff Union (KUSU).
A message posted on facebook by SONU Chairman stated: “Congratulations are in order for Professor Mbithi and you should be loyal to comrades”.
Many students replied with Oscar Okwero saying that “loyalty is repaid in installments, disloyalty is punished instantly,”
AKatch Jim, SONU’s Secretary General, said “Congrats to Prof Mbithi, SONU’s preferred choice for VC. Hope the positive culture of student-administration engagement continues and is further enhanced. SONU will hereby start consultations on who to vouch for the powerful position of DVC A&F”.
Students and student leaders are in support of the new VC. But Babu Owino however warned that the incoming SONU Chairman should not become friends with the VC as this will see “students suffer”, a comment that was supported by hundreds of students.
Members of staff were equally happy as KUSU and KUDHEIHA members sent congratulatory messages.
Professor Mbithi comes with a wealth of experience as an administrator having been the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Administration and Finance and Professor of Veterinary Surgery.