Folks, I have tried my best to keep off the leadership wrangles that have rocked my Alma Mater, The great University of Nairobi, in the past several days, pitting Prof. Stephen Kiama against Prof Isaac Mbeche.
But I can’t have peace of mind anymore without throwing in my two cents into the debate. It’s a noble calling for any proud Alma Mater, one who is proud of the institution that made so many of us.
And mine will be a little different. Instead of focusing on who between the two Professors should take over, I will view it from a slightly different angle; that which I know and understand from personal experiences.
Folks, regarding Professor Kiama, I don’t know much. I left The University without him featuring anywhere close to the helm, which those of us who participated in SONU politics, understood like the back of our hands. I therefore can’t comment much on this man.
However, I have a note about Prof Isaac Mbeche, and perhaps a rather harsh one.
I was there when Prof Mbeche was the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Student Affairs. Actually, for my entire stint at the institution, Prof Mbeche served in this position.
As DVC, Student Affairs, Prof Mbeche was the senior most administrator who, those of us who participated in student politics, crossed path with, most. SONU politics was directly under his docket.
And as many will know, at times, SONU politics can get rough, just like any other serious political discourse.
And in the process, students made mistakes, while in the pursuit of their political ambitions. Personally, I made several.
Of course, every mistake deserves a punishment. That’s the standard procedure all over. However, a punishment should never go to the extreme so that, it beats its intended purpose of correction.
Punishment should rectify rather than destroy its subject. Sadly, for Prof Mbeche, this basic principle has never made sense. For him, students who made mistakes during SONU political engagements do not just deserve correctional punishment. Nope. According to this man, such students deserved to be thrown into the dungeon!
Yes, Prof Mbeche believes that a student who erred once or twice deserved to be in hell. And throughout our time there, he executed this inhumane philosophy with zero apologies.
Students implicated in student riots were either expelled and/or arrested, arraigned in court on trumped up charges and thrown to the Industrial Area Prison.
Today, as I write this piece, I can count a sizeable number of comrades, who I know in person, who are either dead as a result of the depression that comes with an infinite expulsion or rotting in Industrial Area Prison, courtesy of Prof Mbeche’s punitive style of leadership.
My brother and classmate Jean George Mrefu is dead. He died in his rural home in Kisumu after being expelled and his education journey halted simply because he made one or two mistakes during a SONU election. Such a great brain gone too soon.
Another brother, Salim Masese died mysteriously last year, after his numerous efforts to get back to class, after 10 year in the cold, hit a dead end, despite reforming and committing to conform to University Rules. In fact, before the storm overpowered him, Masese had faithfully started attending classes.
OCS Ragira was controversially shot dead last year, at Club 36, a popular eatery neighbouring the university. Prior to his death, OCS had hit a bad low after Prof Mbeche blatantly refused to admit him back, despite him pledging to behave and numerous parties trying to intervene on his behalf.
Timothy Wangila is currently rotting in Industrial Area Prison courtesy of a case instigated by Prof Mbeche regarding a controversial election, whose candidates are roaming freely around. He was sentenced for two years, late last year.
And the list goes on and on.
Folks, honestly, of all the candidates shortlisted for the UoN top job, Prof. Mbeche is least qualified. I am not pro Prof Kiama or any other candidate. I have zero interests there but again, that university better be led by someone else other than Prof Mbeche.
Prof Mbeche lives for a philosophy which is the exact opposite of what the doctrine of the University of Nairobi is. Instead of nurturing dreams, Prof Mbeche finds pleasure in killing them at the earliest opportunity.
And there are many more things that I can write about this man but I choose to be a bit peaceful because it’s on a Sunday. For example, I could have questioned the capacity, of a man who moves around with a permanently irrigated throat, 24/7, and with a top-up tucked in his coat pocket, to lead the greatest institution East and Central Africa. But I won’t go that route today.
Prof Mbeche will be a disaster for The University of Nairobi. He should not be allowed to kill one other dream.