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Egerton University gets a new Vice-Chancellor

Egerton University has received a new Vice-Chancellor, Prof Isaac Kibwage in an acting capacity.

The institution operated with their first-ever woman vice-Chancellor Prof Rose Mwonya until recently when the institution fell into a crisis.

On Friday, the institution announced that Prof Isaac Kibwage will be the new Vice-Chancellor on acting capacity terms.

“This is to bring to the attention of all staff and students that the University Council has appointed Prof Isaac Kibwage to act as Vice-Chancellor with effect from Friday, November 20 until further notice,” read a statement from Dr. Thomas Serem, the Registrar Human Capital and Administration, in a circular to students and staff.

Problems at Egerton

The departing VC faced a myriad of problems ranging from finances to management issues in general which led to the institution falling under the radar of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) over corruption claims.

In a report in March, Inspector-General (Corporations) showed a worrying scenario of the university’s situation that lost millions of money due to fraud and incompetence in leadership. The Inspector-General recommended that Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha should act quickly and save the situation.

In recent times, Egerton University has been in the spotlight due to a variety of problems crippling the progress of the institution. They comprised of issues pertaining to allegations of mismanagement and fraud. The audit report revealed these issues.

The university has barely been able to manage its obligations though the institution threw the blame on insufficient resources.

The auditor revealed that the university had changed the mode of study of some students to regular programmes from self-sponsored. The outgoing VC Prof Mwonya, however, refuted these claims.

More than 500 dons also stopped working after the institution reduced their salaries by 40 percent. This has affected the academic calendar, as the lecturer’s strike begun on November 4 and interrupted ongoing examinations that Fourth Year Students were doing.

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Those Fourth-year students who were to graduate in December will need to wait a little longer because of the strike. As a result, the university suspended phased reopening until lecturers resume work.

Even though the university tried to stop the strike twice, the efforts hit a snag after the lawyers of the university did not turn up at the Employment and Labour Relations Court.

Lecturer’s Strike

The Lecturers have insisted that they will only resume work when the institution pays its dues.

“We will not accept the continued oppression of our members under the guise of an economic downturn due to COVID-19,” said Uasin Gishu National Secretary-General Constantine Wasonga.

The university’s financial problems forced the university council to approve the laying off of around 400 workers to sustain its wage bill.

The institution needs around sh. 600 million to carry out the massive retrenchment that will affect especially the 1,200 non-teaching staff.

Key projects of the university have also stalled because of a lack of funds. The university’s reduced capitation from the government was to blame for this. The government, it is said has reduced the capitation at the rate of 26 percent in the last four years.

The institution had been building a sh. 10 million modern libraries, a sh. 33.4 million physical science complex, a sh. 5.9-million security check-point and associated buildings and a Ksh. 1.3 million renovations of student hostels and their pavements.

Part-time lecturers also want to be paid accrued unpaid salaries amounting to almost sh. 930 million, while staff pension funds are owed almost a billion. The unspecified claim also adds up to sh. 131 million.

KRA and SACCOs are also on the university’s neck for cash amounting to almost 900 million. Fees from students both self-sponsored and regular has dropped in the last four years.

The new VC has a lot of bone to chew for sure, as all eyes are on him to bail out the situation

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