Team set up to probe turf war over varsity resources

By: OUMA WANZALA

A task force has been set up to investigate runaway expenditure at the University of Nairobi, which has created a rift between Vice-Chancellor Peter Mbithi and his deputy for administration and finance, Prof Bernard Njoroge.

Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi said the task force would review policies on expenditure and staff transfers.

The decision was arrived at on Friday after a day-long meeting called by Prof Kaimenyi and attended by members of the University Council and University Management Board.

The university management is being accused of non-confidentiality, tribalism and corruption.

Prof Mbithi and Prof Njoroge have been engaged in a public spat since August over management of resources, with expenditure currently standing at Sh2.5 billion.

A brief by finance officer Michael Karue earlier this year described the deficit as “very severe”.

The conflict started when Prof Mbithi directed that any expenditure above Sh100,000 be approved by his office.

He also took over performance contracting, which used to be the deputy vice-chancellor’s responsibility.

Management has since frozen employment to reduce the wage bill, which is Sh750 million monthly.

DISCPLINARY ACTION

The meeting also resolved that the management board and council ensure that university policies and regulations are strictly followed.

“To promote better communication, transparency, team work and team spirit, members of the University Management Board shall, at all times, be consultative and inclusive in their decision making,” said Prof Kaimenyi.

“All staff, especially those in the management, shall always endeavour to exhaust existing internal legal mechanisms to resolve problems without resorting to the media, Parliament and the courts,” said Prof Kaimenyi.

On Wednesday and Thursday, the dons took their battle to Parliament where Prof Njoroge told the Committee on Education that Prof Mbithi was frustrating him.

And on Thursday, before the same committee, Prof Mbithi threatened to take disciplinary action against his deputy for alleged insubordination.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION