NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 27- Governors Jackson Mandago and Alex Tolgos were on Tuesday questioned by police over their recent remarks Moi University’s Vice Chancellor appointee—sparking protests in Eldoret town.
The two Governors from Uasin Gishu and Elgeyo Marakwet respectively were summoned to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations following their attempt to eject Professor Laban Ayiro from office after he was named acting Vice Chancellor by Education CS Fred Matiang’i.
And as soon Eldoret residents learnt that the two were recording statements, they staged demonstrations to protest the move, in solidarity with their leaders.
The protesters were waving placards saying Mandago was right, while others shouted “We Want Kosgey”.
Professor Isaac Kosgey is said to have scored highly in recruitment to replace Professor Richard Mibey who retired last week, and the leaders are now accusing the CS of by-passing him on ethnic basis.
The two leaders move has been widely condemned and accused of being tribal and reducing the university to “a village school.”
On September 21, Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i defended appointment of Laban Ayiro as the acting Vice Chancellor of Moi University and told those disgruntled with his decision to ‘grow up’ since he had followed the law.
The CS said the correct procedure was followed in the appointment in line with the Universities Act, 2012.
“In doing that work, there is law that we follow. There is statute. The management of Universities, the appointment of Vice Chancellors is governed by the Universities Act 2012.
What I need someone to do is to pull out that Act and point out the mistake that I have made. That is all,” he said.
“As a country, we also have to grow up and deal with things differently because this is a straight forward matter covered by statute.”
Local leaders wanted the Education CS to immediately appoint a substantive VC for Moi University, based on merit, arguing that it is wrong to appoint an acting VC when the University Council concluded the recruitment process.
On his part, Matiang’i categorically stated that he would not respond to them since their queries were political and he is a public servant who followed due process.
“I have followed the law to the letter, so someone should pull out the statute and tell me Minister, you have erred here. That is the kind of question that I would like to respond to,” he stated.
“I cannot respond to politics because I am not a politician and I cannot engage political leaders. The law does not allow me to do that in the first place and I am not one of them so I cannot engage in the kind of conversation they have.”
The leaders went up in arms over what they termed as the appointment of an outsider to the post but Matiang’i stated that it was not a political post.
The approval of Ayiro was made following a request by the Moi University Council in a letter dated, September 19, 2016 seeking Matiang’i’s approval to appoint from a list of three professors, one person as an Acting Vice Chancellor following the ending of Mibey’s tenure as Vice Chancellor of the University.
The three included Laban Ayiro, Daniel Tarus and Isaac Kimengi.
Ayiro before his appointment was the Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor for Planning; Prof. Tarus is Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor Finance while Prof. Kimengi is Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic.
The appointment, according to the Chairman of the University Council, is for a period of three months or until such a time as the substantive Vice Chancellor shall have been appointed.
The process of appointing a substantive Vice Chancellor is on-going.
Mibey has been at the helm of Moi University as Vice Chancellor for ten years.