A tough choice now awaits Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i in appointing a substantive vice-chancellor of Moi University following the conclusion of interviews on Monday.
The University Council chaired by Jeremiah Ntoloi Koshal interviewed six candidates and ranked Isaac Kosgei as the best candidate scoring 76 percent while acting Vice-Chancellor Laban Ayiro came second with 70 percent.
Prof Anne Nangulu who is the deputy chief executive officer at the Commission for University Education (CUE) emerged third, also with 70 percent.
Dr Matiang’i is required by law to appoint a vice-chancellor from three names that will be presented to him by the council.
However, the award of the marks to candidates by council members has attracted some attention, throwing the whole process into another possible crisis.
For instance, Ms Isabel Kogei awarded Prof Ayiro 41 percent and Prof Kosgei 99 percent while Mr David Rono awarded Prof Ayiro 45 and Prof Kosgei 92 percent, Hamisi Dena awarded Prof Kosgei 90 and Prof Ayiro 51.
Other candidates were Prof Maurice Amutabi (66 percent), Prof Isaac Kibwage current deputy vice-chancellor for administration and Planning at Moi University got 64 percent while Prof Joseph Chacha managed 61 percent.
Prof Kosgei, who is the current deputy vice-chancellor, Administration, Finance and Development at Laikipia University was last year at the centre of protests after local leaders in the North Rift demanded that he be appointed the vice-chancellor.
This is after he topped in the first interview which was characterised with leakage of the results by council members to political leaders and candidates.
Prof Nangulu also did the first interview.
Dr Matiang’i then revoked the whole exercise and in March 2017, appointed a new council with the hope of conducting a credible recruitment.
The latest development appears to be a blow to Dr Matiang’i who has been pushing to have better leadership in universities that have been characterised by tribalism and wars between council members and vice-chancellors.
Two weeks ago, he unveiled the second phase of radical reforms in public universities which he said will seek to address poor governance in the institutions.
Two weeks ago, State Corporation Advisory Committee (SCAC) Secretary Jane Mugambi lamented that her office had been reduced to solving leadership wrangles in public universities.
“These conflicts are the worse that I have seen in public universities as no work is going on in these institutions that are supposed to be models of leadership,” said Ms Mugambi.
At the moment, 10 universities have vice-chancellors in acting capacities, making it difficult for them to make executive decisions for their respective institutions.
Another 10 Vice-chancellors of public universities are set to complete their first terms in office starting early 2018, setting the stage for a scramble for those coveted positions.