Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology will expand at the expense of a government agency, President William Ruto yesterday.
Gracing the institution’s 18th graduation ceremony, Dr Ruto ordered the Ministry of Agriculture to surrender 16 acres of land adjacent to the university to offer more space for lecture rooms, hostels and other buildings.
He said the government would facilitate the titling of the land that was perviously used by the Agricultural Society of Kenya.
The President urged the university to deal with some of the immediate problems affecting locals, among them the plight of Mumias Sugar Company.
The Masinde Muliro University engineering department, he said, should find lasting solutions to the financial problems bedevilling the company and the woes in the gold industry in the region.
He advised the department to apply its brains to turning granite in Vihiga county into a profitable venture.
“I am looking forward to working with institutions of higher learning to unravel what we need to do for the gold refinery and tap into the resources of granite by finding the mechanisms of value-addition for the development of our country,” he said.
The President challenged institutions of higher learning to strive to be the beacons of academic excellence and hub of human capital development.
He said that would provide the sharpest intellect to serve humanity locally, regionally and internationally.
“The bottom-up approach to the academic agenda of teaching, learning and research demonstrates the profound capacity to promote socio-economic development,” he said.
Dr Ruto said he underscores the need for universities to work with the government to achieve universal health care and fight impacts of global warming despite the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He added that through public-private partnerships, universities can blossom with ideas, innovations and aspirations.
That, he said, can enhance innovation, technology and entrepreneurship leading to socio-economic development of the country.
The President encouraged university managers to focus on extracting lessons from the pandemic experience and inaugurate a tradition of innovation and resilience.
He reiterated his commitment to promote technical training, “which is aligned to my government’s vision of innovation and industrialisation”.
While at the Technical University of Kenya on Thursday, President Ruto said his government is ready to partner with tertiary institutions, especially TVETs, to forge a path for the country to deepen its competitive capacity and assume global partnership.
At the same event, the university conferred Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi a honorary doctorate degree in Peace and Sustainable Development.
Vice-Chancellor Solomon Shibairo said Mr Mudavadi was recommended by the university senate and council “following his achievements and exemplary service to humanity in peacemaking that have earned him the title ‘a safe pair of hands”.
“Mr Mudavadi is a public servant, trailblazer, diplomat and a peacemaker. This prescribes and instils positive peace as it builds on societal attitudes,” Prof Shibairo said.
“He adheres to the truth and exhibits non-aggressive and non-violent behaviour in his career and political life. It is these traits and persona that easily predispose him as a promoter of peace.”
Prof Shibairo said Mr Mudavadi’s approach to politics has served to lower tension.
“The apogee of his peace-making was demonstrated when he was named as the leader of the ODM’s side in the Kofi Annan Mediation Team during the 2007/2008 post-election violence in Kenya,” he said.