Masinde Muliro University is set for a change of guard as the term of embattled Vice-Chancellor Frederick Otieno ended on November 30.
The council of the science and technology university has advertised the positions of VC and deputy VC for academic and student affairs.
Officials of the institution’s chapter of the Universities Academic Staff Union (UASU), Kenya Universities Staff Union (KUSU) and the Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions, Hospitals and Allied Workers (KUDHEIHA) have been calling for the removal of Prof Otieno.
They accuse him of highhandedness and victimising those critical of his administration’s track record over the last five years.
The officials have also been pushing for investigations by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) into claims of corruption at the university.
In his response, Prof. Otieno claimed the union officials were being used by cartels that were defrauding the institution through suspect contracts.
They are undermining his administration, he said, noting he has tackled corruption and ensured proper financial management.
As Prof. Otieno defends his reputation, however, Prof. Joseph Bosire from Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology has been appointed to serve in acting capacity for the next three months.
In addition, a group of professors from the university have supported the developments, saying they have full confidence in the council.
“The Professors’ Forum welcomes the decision of the government and the council to appoint a neutral acting vice-chancellor to manage the leadership transition,” said Prof. Thomas Sakwa.
“Members intend to work together to avert ills and malpractices at the university.”
He addressed journalists in Kakamega town on Tuesday, flanked by Prof. Silvery Oteng’i and Peter Shalo.
The developments came as preparations for the 13th graduation ceremony set for December 14 took shape.
The dons called for the formation of a truth and reconciliation committee to help restore calm at the institution.
They claimed individuals opposed to changes at the institution were planning to incite students to hold demonstrations and disrupt learning.
“We have observed that staff at the university are polarised and scattered, and need an internal committee to address the ills and malpractices fuelling misunderstandings,” Prof. Sakwa said.
He noted that they spoke out for the sake of a smooth transition.