Prof. Mathooko takes over
at Machakos University
|Prof Francis Mathooko|
A transition is taking place at the Machakos University College following the appointment of Professor Francis Mathooko to serve as Principal.
Mathooko replaces Prof Godfrey Muse who has been Principal since inception of the university college in September 2012. This comes months after the reconstitution of the University Council that sparked protests from local leaders over claims of exclusion, so the new changes were not entirely unexpected.
Prof Mathooko, who was until his appointment the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic and Student Affairs) at South Eastern Kenya University(SEKU) is a Food Science and Technology/Postharvest physiology specialist.
Hailing from Machakos County, his appointment will no doubt restore a sense of ownership of the locals to the university that developed from a well-respected Machakos Technical School that eventually became Machakos Technical Training Institute (MTTI) before becoming a University College. Locals see it as their own institution and jealously follow and protect what goes on and who manages the institution.
His job at MUC is well cut out for him especially because there has been a marked lull since the elevation of the institution to university status.
The biggest evidence is on its website which has timeless information posted on it and has no information about the university administration.
“It is indicative of what is going on. No one exactly knows who does what here”, said a member of staff who declined to be named, saying the institution is run through confusion.
He will now join a team led by Prof Mogire who replaced Dr Cleaopa Mailu as chairman of the University Council. Sources who know what transpired at the time say the handover was acrimonious as the incoming chairman had unkind words for his predecessor and his team. It was the first time there was such acrimony during a change-over in leadership at the institution even during its days as a secondary school.
The change over was followed by calls to dissolve the recently constituted board of the Machakos university college for lacking equity.
Machakos county senator Mr Johnson Muthama, said at the time that out of the nine members of the board, eight of them were from outside the county with six coming from a particular community not Machakos county.
Mr Muthama said he had already written to the minister for education citing the anomalies and asked him to dissolve the council and make fresh appointments.
He said it was wrong to import members of the board from outside the county and exclude locals. ‘’We want the board dissolved and majority of the members be appointed locally since the university is within the county’’ said Mr Muthama.
He said people of Machakos will not rest until the government reverses the university’s board trend. Members of the Machakos county assembly then held a peaceful demonstration near the university protesting against the appointments. The MCAs demanded the dissolution of the Council saying it reflected bias and neglect of the Machakos county people.