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UoN Deputy VC suspended over power struggles with boss

University of Nairobi Deputy Vice-Chancellor Bernard Njoroge has been suspended due to his unending differences with his boss.

Prof Njoroge, who is in charge of administration and finance, received his six-month suspension letter on Friday after two meetings chaired by university council chairman Idle Omar Farah.

For the past four months, Prof Njoroge has been engaged in a leadership tussle with Vice-Chancellor Peter Mbithi, despite intervention by the Education Ministry.

SH51B BUDGET

University of Nairobi is the largest university in the country and receives the lion’s share of the Sh51 billion budget meant for 31 public universities.

The suspension comes less than a month after former Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi brokered a deal between the two.

The first meeting on suspension of Prof Njoroge was held on Monday, followed by another one on Wednesday when the decision was arrived at by council members.

Prof Njoroge is said to have appeared before the council on Wednesday to argue his case.

The council members include Prof Mbithi, Dr Sanjav Advani, Mr Joseph Hamisi, Ms Pascalia Koske, Dr Lucy Kiyiapi, Mr Samuel Kiiru representing the National Treasury principal secretary and Ms Fenny Mwakisha, representing the Education PS.

During the session, five council members voted for his suspension against two, who wanted him to remain.

BARRED

The DVC has been barred from the institution for the duration of his suspension.

Dr Farah refused to discuss the suspension of Prof Njoroge when reached for comment.

“No comment please,” he said.

Prof Njoroge also did not comment on the matter and instead accused the media of failing to highlight the issues raised.

“I am not talking to the media please. Go and talk to the vice-chancellor,” he said.

In September, the council intervened to resolve the dispute, without any success.

OVERSTEPPING MANDATE

This was after Prof Njoroge accused Prof Mbithi of overstepping his mandate by seeking to control the finances at the institution, which was his area of jurisdiction.

Prof Mbithi had also issued new guidelines directing that all expenditure above Sh100,000 can only be approved by the vice-chancellor.

He also moved performance contracting to his office, taking away powers Prof Njoroge enjoyed before he was elevated to his current office.

Prof Njoroge protested to the university council in August, with the confidential letter ending up in the public domain.

In September, Dr Farah wrote to Prof Njoroge: “The council took great exception to the approach taken by yourself in airing your grievances. In its wisdom, the council elected to tempter justice with mercy and therefore wishes to issue a very strong warning that this approach will not be tolerated in future and will invite severe disciplinary action.”