, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 5 – Outgoing Vice Chancellor of the University of Nairobi Prof George Magoha has attributed the success of his 10 year tenure to the autonomy he enjoyed while running the institution.
In his last address during the 52nd graduation ceremony, Prof Magoha stated that this encouraged him and his staff to work harder to ensure the smooth running of the university.
He emphasised the need for this tradition to be upheld to ensure high standards are maintained.
“For the past 10 years, I was given absolute autonomy to run the university. It empowers you and your staff and we sprang up. We are not afraid of oversight. Oversight is good because we belong to the government but if you select me through a competitive process and you feel I can perform, Madam PS do not come and run the university for me, I am telling you this in very simple terms,” he said.
He emphasised the importance of maintaining that freedom to run the institution saying that more will be achieved.
“I want to say that we are extremely grateful to the two governments for having allowed us to run the university because that is the only reason in my opinion why we are where we are. If you withdraw that autonomy, whether you like it or not, we shall go down and you will see it,” he stated.
“Our salary bill per month is Sh700 million and we get about Sh430 million from my government. Where do you think the other Sh300 million comes from? I have to allow my staff to give me the best. If I have to allow that, you have to give me some breathing space. I have to take in some oxygen to breath. If you take it away I cannot breath,” he stated.
He further stressed the need to adopt a system where the amount of fees paid by students is commensurate with the course being undertaken.
“I want to request the National Government to immediately adopt unit cost. It has taken too long. Before I became Vice Chancellor, we went to brief Karega son of Mutahi. I have become Vice Chancellor for 10 years and we still do not have unit cost. These Kenyans you see here have money,” he stated.
“They take their children abroad so if someone is saying that he cannot pay one tenth of what he is paying for his son abroad he is lying to you. You should be bold enough to approve unit cost, so that a child doing medicine should pay what it actually costs. A child doing something less should pay less.”
Over 7,000 candidates graduated during the ceremony where Magoha emphasised the need for the students to continue working hard to achieve their goals.
“We have succeeded because we embraced meritocracy. Your being a ‘jaluo’ does not help you. The ‘jaluos’ in the university will tell you that their being ‘jaluos’ has not helped them. We look for what you can do and give you the opportunity to do it. That is what I have trained my people to do and they are going to continue to do it,” he said.
Science and technology Principal Secretary Colleta Suda paid tribute to Prof Magoha while describing him as hardworking and virtuous.