Society / Education
Saturday, 24 Sep 2016 12:00 EATnewsdesk@kenyafreepress.com
The controversial appointment of Prof. Laban Ayiro as acting vice chancellor of Moi University has divided Rift Valley politicians down the middle. While Governors Jackson Mandago (Uasin Gishu) and Alex Tolgos (Elgeyo Marakwet) have emerged as the public face of leaders opposing the appointment, it is no kept that the appointment has divided the region between supporters and opponents of deputy president William Ruto.
The deputy president was away in the United States when the appointment was made and the riots led by governors Mandago and Tolgos ensued. However, his key allies in the region have either supported the protests or spoken equivocally about the demonstrations.
On the other hand, Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto and Emurua Dikiir MP Johanna Ngeno, who are key critics of the DP, have censured those opposed to Prof. Ayiro’s appointment, accusing them of trying to raise ethnic tensions for selfish political ends.
“What we are witnessing is not good at all for peaceful coexistence in the country. We should have a clear policy on the succession plan in our varsities and such should represent the face of Kenya,” Governor Ruto said.
Speaking at Tumoi in Chepalungu on Wednesday during the celebrations of the school’s 10thanniversary, the governor urged the cabinet secretary for education, Dr Fred Matiangi to ensure that universities became real national institutions instead of enclaves for ethnic jostling for power.
The governor regretted that newly established universities, which are mostly in small rural towns, had become centres for the dispensation of patronage by local political, ethnic and business powerbrokers.
Governor Ruto, however, said the protests had exposed a serious weakness in the management of education in Kenya, adding that Kenyans at the grassroots level were seeking a bigger role in education affairs. He proposed that primary schools should be devolved to county governments.
Speaking at the same event, Hon. Ngeno urged local politicians to stop interfering in the running of institutions of higher learning located in their areas. Singling out Mandago and Tolgos, the MP said it was “totally wrong and unacceptable in this century” for leaders to openly incite ethnic passions as a way of endearing themselves to voters.
The MP also alluded to the lopsided allocation of public appointments at the national level as a cause of the governors’ behavior. “This country does not belong to only two tribes, but us all and so we should all have an equal share even in such positions.”