Reports reaching Kahawa Tungu indicate that all is not well at the University of Nairobi as the monster of poor management, corruption and nepotism threatens to bring down one the biggest university in Kenya.
The institution is facing uncertain future following several allegations of corruption facing Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Mbithi. Last year, he was accused of forcing one of his nieces, Teresia Ndunge, to sleep with him before granting her employment as a cateress at the institution.
In order to cover-up some of his vices, the Vice Chancellor has opted to employ relatives who can ‘comply’ with his rules. At the Students Welfare Authority(SWA), Mbithi has employed Jackson Maalu from Mombasa Campus as the Director.
Maalu was brought in to take the slot of Prof Oyieke who had served as the Deputy Director for years. Before appointment, Maalu was strategically placed as a coordinator to the body, a non-existent post.
What followed was a massive retrenchment of the casual labourers in the university, in the name of saving money. In their place, new workers (well known and connected) were hired, who have neglected their duties since they are untouchables. This has led to the current crisis, where retrenched workers have vowed to sue the institution after their union officials abandoned them and went to bed with Mbithi.
Foreseeing a possible backlash, Mbithi has already earmarked a company that he will offload the new staff, so that they continue to work in the institution in case the incoming council decides to undo what he has been doing.
The VC is so afraid of the new council that he has opted to keep them at bay through court orders, in a bid to cover the rot in the institution
Mbithi has also resolved to use unorthodox means to save the university from insolvency, in which it was declared last year.
First, he has tried to outlaw cooking in student hostels, which is almost a norm in all public universities. This is despite food in the university cafeteria being double the price of food vendors outside, who have taken advantage of the situation.
The university has made food in the cafeterias expensive since suppliers have bolted out due to non-payment by the university. The university has since opted to buy food using petty cash, since some debts date back to 2016.
The university has opted to depend on suppliers for food, who give kick backs to the VC, despite having an arable land at the Upper Kabete College of Agriculture which can be used to produce food for the university. Adjacent to the campus is the Kanyariri Farm which is poorly managed despite having a farm manager.
Some years back, the Israeli government set up a demonstration farm in Kibwezi which collapsed due to mismanagement and the urge to retain food supplies by cartels. The 13,000 acres could have provided more thatn enough food for the institution, even to an extend of generating income.
Students have also been missing accommodation in the institution, forcing them to seek accommodation in dangerous places with the risk of facing muggers, and at times some becoming drug addicts due to the places they live in.
Instead of creating more hostels to accommodate the growing population, the university has opted to put double-decker congesting rooms that were once meant for two people, to accommodate four now.
According to students in the institution residing in the hostels, there is no security nor privacy, as any key opens any door. This has created a training ground for muggers, illicit sex and gangsterim.
As if that is not enough, Mbithi has turned to student finances have been misused to buy influential students in order to silence them, according to insiders.
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