As the dispute between the University of Nairobi and Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed over the appointment of four deputy vice chancellors continues, Ms Mohamed has sought to end it by defending her selection.
Ms Mohamed said she based her selection on gender, merit and regional balance.
Further, in a letter to Solicitor-General Kennedy Ogeto dated January 28, she said she exercised powers legally bestowed on her.
The university’s council chairperson Julia Ojiambo on January 24 wrote to Attorney-General Paul Kihara claiming that they had not recommended the four picked by Ms Mohamed.
Prof Ojiambo also sort advisory opinion on the powers, roles, and functions of the Cabinet secretary and the Council in recruitment and appointment of staff at the university.
Ms Mohamed said she appointed Prof Lydia Njenga instead of Prof Madara Ogot as Deputy Vice Chancellor Research, Production and Extension because of gender.
“Out of five DVCs, six principals and the vice chancellor, there is no female representation, making the management of the university out of tune with the Constitution.
“The appointment of Prof Njenga – arising from an open, accountable, transparent and competitive process – finds justification in the Constitution itself,” she said.
In the interview, Prof Ogot scored 76 percent, Prof Benard Aduda 64.5 percent and Prof Njenga 63.1 percent.
Regarding Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs, she said she picked Prof Julius Ogeng’o because of performance and regional balance.
Prof Ogeng’o scored 82.4 percent while Prof Maurice Amutabi and John Kiumi got 57.1 percent and 54.7 percent respectively.
The council wanted Prof Isaac Mbeche for the Finance, Planning and Development DVC position but the minister picked Prof Mohamud Jama.
She said it was because Prof Jama comes from Marsabit County, one of the marginalised regions, and it would not make financial sense appointing Prof Mbeche, who is the Student Affairs DVC.
“Appointing him for the position of DVC Finance, Planning and Development would have created a vacuum within the sensitive Student Affairs docket and exposed the university to additional recruitment costs to find a replacement.
“It should be noted that the university is in dire financial constraints. Prof Mbeche is currently serving in the second and final term in the position of DVC Student Affairs ending in the year 2021,” she said.
She added that Prof Stephen Kiama was not appointed DVC Human Resource because of regional balance despite being the top candidate.
Instead, she appointed Prof William Ogara due to considerations of regional balance, having appointed Prof Njenga from Murang’a County.