Universities should be centres of excellence and not ethnic strongholds. We categorically condemn the act of political leaders who want to turn Moi University into a tribal outfit. These same leaders have their children in overseas universities where they have no clue which tribe the Vice Chancellors comes from. The Constitution of Kenya gives a right of picketing and public demonstration to agitate for infringed rights. The demonstrations at Moi University, Eldoret, against the appointment of Prof. Laban Ayiro led by the Uasin Gishu Governor, Jackson Mandago flanked by Elgeyo/Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos, several Members of Parliament, and Members of County Assembly, is unacceptable in the current Kenya. The bone of contention is that an ‘outsider’ had been appointed to the helm of the Moi University in Eldoret.
It should be noted that Moi University statutes (Statute IV) provides that the University Council shall COMPETITIVELY identify and recommend a qualified person to be appointed as a Vice Chancellor in accordance with the Universities Act, by the Cabinet Secretary in charge of Higher Education shall make the appointment. The actions of these leaders are not only unpatriotic, intolerant and divisive but also a serious breach of the Constitution which they all swore to uphold. We strongly condemned these actions and we must avoid future harassment of scholars. Universities should never be perpetuators of ethnic hegemony and profiling. This behaviour is totally unacceptable if we aspire to build a united Kenya.
It is of great concern that this is becoming a trend in our public universities as has been witnessed previously in the University of Eldoret and now Moi University. If this insensitive behaviour continues and remain unchecked, we will dismember the beloved country of Kenya. What this means is that there is ethnicization of academic institutions without regard to the provisions of Article 10 of the Constitution of Kenya which provides for ALL Kenyans to observe and promote patriotism, national unity, the rule of law, equity, inclusiveness, good governance and non discrimination amongst others.
The magnitude and scale of ethnicization of our universities has reached unprecedented levels. We observe that this is not a good mind-set, especially during a pre-election year, in a highly cosmopolitan region.
We therefore, DEMAND THAT:
1. The President of the Republic of Kenya to safeguard the Constitution he swore to protect by having fair opportunities availed to all citizens on the basis of merit. The Jubilee Government should ensure that negative traits of ethnicity, nepotism and stereotypes against the other are fully checked. We sense lack of political will to fully embrace the national values and principles of governance as enshrined in Article 10.
2. We call upon the Ministry of Education to thoroughly look into the question of ethnicity in public universities with the guidance of the reports on ethnic distribution in public institutions by the Public Service Commission and National Cohesion and Integration Commission, and initiate the process of de-ethnicisation of universities.
3. The Ministry of Education should publish all the necessary information on the recruitment of the Moi University Vice Chancellor to quell current speculations on the recruitment process and appointment of the Acting Vice Chancellor, and protect the integrity of the process.
4. The National Cohesion and Integration (NCIC), Directorate of National Values (DNV) and the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) should act immediately by prosecuting the individual politicians for inciting hatred among communities in North Rift and Western Kenya. We note some serious concern on conflict of interest in implementation of National values and principles of governance more so towards protecting political interests by the Constitutional Commissions.
5. The leaders that led the protests against Prof. Ayiro’s appointment contravened Chapter 6, Article 73 of the Constitution on responsibilities of leadership by not behaving in a manner that brings dignity to the offices they hold. We call upon the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to bar the politicians from holding elective public office.
6. We call upon all citizens of Kenya and of diverse ethnic communities to vote out tribal and ensure that every citizen is made and feels part of the community in a county and nationally, and derives benefits of belonging, and citizenship for the common good of Kenya. We recommend that Civil Society Organizations mandated with governance issues should raise awareness and understanding on the structures of the county and national government among the public and leadership. This is in view that even some elected officials seem not to understand the structures well and the public as well are at a loss.
7. We ask the Ombudsman to investigate and continue monitoring the conduct of politicians who are paid by tax payers’ money and in return offer hate instead of effective and efficient service delivery to Kenyans. 8. As Civil Society; we are committed to ensuring that both the public and leadership understand the structures of government both at National and County levels; and the Constitution of Kenya especially Article 10 and Chapter 6. It is obvious that even some Governors do not understand the structures. The Governors of Uasin Gishu and Elgeyo/ Marakwet Counties should understand that university education is a function under national government and therefore the right level of government to handle the Moi University issue.
The preamble of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 reminds us to be proud of our ethnic, cultural and religious diversity, and be determined to live in peace and unity as one indivisible sovereign nation.
This statement is signed by; 1. Constitution and Reform Education Consortium (CRECO) 2. Mzalendo Trust 3. Transparency International – Kenya (TI-Kenya) 4. Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) 5. Ecumenical Center for Justice and Peace (ECJP) 6. Community Based Development Services (COBADES0