Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed’s recent re-appointment of four Vice Chancellors whose terms were set to end this month have been challenged in court.
“Petitioner seeks to invalidate the appointment of four University vice chancellors,” reads the court documents.
The petitioner, Dr. Wilfrida Itolondo, claims that renewed contracts for VCs in the Technical University of Kenya, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology, University of Kabianga and Maasai Mara University is defective.
Dr. Itolondo, who is also a lecturer, argues that the decision was not subjected to an inclusive competitive and transparent process that involves public participation.
She further notes that there was no advertisement conducted for the position by the said universities.
The petitioner says she has on several occasions made efforts to raise concerns to the Education CS about the need to re-appoint Vice Chancellors of public universities through a competitive process.
“The University being a public institution, the four VCs and other individuals not known to the applicant are subject to public scrutiny and are answerable and accountable to stakeholders in the performance of their duties under the law,” adds the petition.
According to Dr. Itolondo, CS Amina acted outside the law by re-appointing the four — Francis Aduol (TUK), Prof. Stephen Agong (Jaramogi Oginga Odinga), Wilson Kipng’eno (Kabianga) and Mary Walingo (Maasai Mara University) — without subjecting them to a competitive process.
She is also apprehensive and skeptical that no comprehensive audit of the universities to which the four were re-appointed was done and, hence, the need for them to vacate office immediately.
According to the petitioner, the reappointment of the four was shrouded in secrecy. She, therefore, wants the court to suspend CS Amina’s decision to re-appoint the four pending hearing and determination of the case.
The Education CS, while retaining the Vice Chancellors, said their appointment was decided based on their performance.
According to the Universities Act 2012, the recruitment of Vice Chancellors, Deputy Vice Chancellors and Principals of constituent colleges must be done through a competitive process by respective councils that are appointed by the Education Cabinet Secretary.