Kisii University gets new VC as John Akama retires

Kisii VC

Prof John Akama ( left) hands over the leadership of Kisii University to VC Professor Joseph Mailutha. Akama exits Kisii University after serving for 10 years since 2013 when the institution was awarded its charter.

Photo credit: Wycliffe Nyaberi I Nation Media Group

Kisii University Vice Chancellor Prof John Akama has retired, after serving the institution for 10 years in that capacity.

Prof Akama bowed out on Friday June 9.

Prof Akama, who was also the founding Principal of the formerly Kisii University College has served as VC since 2013, when the institution became full-fledged.

A message from the Kisii town based university read: "Today marks the end of the term for our first VC Prof John Akama,as he hands over the reigns of leadership to the acting VC Prof Joseph  Mailutha."

Prof Maithula was appointed to serve in acting capacity after the Public Service Commission (PSC) advertised positions of nine vice chancellors and 12 deputies who were due to retire from public universities.

“Prof Akama has done his part and steered the university to greater heights. Another VC with the same vision to steer the university to the next level should now take the mantle, “ Prof Tom Nyamache, an educationist and don at the Turkana University told the Nation.

In a recent interview, Prof Akama, asked the State to reward retiring dons for a ‘job well done.’

“There are about 10 vice-chancellors who are going to retire, they are the founders of constituent colleges.They have built those institutions struggling with minimal financing and firefighting and sadly they are now retiring and going silently into oblivion,” said Prof Akama.

 “Retiring VCs should be given something like a goodwill token by the State. We ask the State to reward us for a job well done,” added the don during an interview with the Nation in Mombasa.

Prof Akama said he has helped the institution grow from 300 students to more than 20,000. He was the founding principal of the Kisii University College.

Prof Akama first worked as a lecturer at the Moi University, before becoming a full professor at the university.

He has since remained a critical researcher in the fields of tourism, sociology, culture and wildlife conservation.

Apart from working as an administrator,the Southern Illinois University PhD graduate is a seasoned author behind the book; “A Rural Boy’s Journey to the Pinnacle of Academia”.

He co-authored the book with his wife Mallion Akama and journalist Joshua Araka.

His other books are; The Gusii of Kenya, Social, Economic, Cultural, Political and Judicial Perspectives and The Untold Story; Gusii Survival Techniques and Resistance to Colonial Rule.

Born in Nyamira, Prof Akama rose from a village boy to become one of the celebrated academicians in the Gusii region.

Prof Akama’s position was among 10 others advertised by the Public Service Commission (PSC) on March 1, as the body moved to fill vacant positions of Vice Chancellors and Deputy Vice Chancellors at 10 universities.

PSC in an advertisement invited applications for positions of nine Vice Chancellors (VCs) and 12 Deputy Vice-Chancellors (DVCs). However, most of the positions are yet to be filled.

The PSC invited applications of suitable candidates to fill the position of VC for Pwani, Kisii, Karatina, Machakos, South Eastern Kenya, Alupe, Tom Mboya, Technical, Kabianga and Eldoret universities.

According to the advert, Pwani university had two vacancies in academic and student affairs and research and extension.

Kisii University whose main campus is located in Kisii town has been seeking administration and finance while Karatina has two vacancies in academic, research and student affairs, planning finance and administration.

The University of Eldoret wanted academic and student affairs DVC while Machakos is seeking one in administration, planning and finance.

South Eastern Kenya was seeking DVC, academic research and innovation, Tom Mboya academic, research and innovation while Kabianga wanted one in administration and finance.

Alupe had two vacancies in academics, research and student affairs and administration finance and development.

The vice-chancellors are the academic and administrative heads of every university.

They take overall responsibility for the direction, organisation, administration and programmes of the university and have such other responsibilities and duties as may be provided for in the Charter.

The absence of the chancellors and vice chancellors, therefore, has a far-reaching negative effect on the fortunes of a university.

Two years ago, Kisii University, while acting on directives from its council and government, fired close to 350 employees after they were declared redundant.

The affected employees challenged the move in court and emerged victorious.

Prof Akama and the university suffered a blow after the Employment and Labour Relations court in Kisumu declared that the employees were unfairly, wrongly and unlawfully dismissed.

The court ordered that the institution pays the workers compensation for the seven months.