What you need to know:
- The demonstrators now accuse the local leaders of fuelling previous demonstrations that led to the removal of Prof Ayiro, the former VC, whom they described as a performer who was the victim of a tribal witch-hunt.
- "We apologise to Professor Ayiro. We were deceived by local politicians to chase him away, but he was the best," said Richard Tarus, a local community leader.
- The protests came just days after Prof Ayiro, who was hired by Daystar University after being kicked out of Moi, was feted as Kenya's best VC at the Uongozi Awards.
Activities at Moi University in Uasin Gishu County were brought to a standstill on Monday by protesters who have since apologised to former Moi University Vice Chancellor Laban Ayiro.
The demonstrations follow mounting pressure for the removal of Vice Chancellor Isaac Kosgey over allegations of poor leadership and poor performance.
The protesters, who included members of the local community and rights activists, accused local leaders of protecting Prof Kosgey amid claims of poor performance and bad leadership.
The demonstrators now accuse the local leaders of fuelling previous demonstrations that led to the removal of Prof Ayiro, the former VC, whom they said was a victim of a tribal witch-hunt.
"We apologise to Professor Ayiro. We were deceived by local politicians to chase him away, but he was the best," said Richard Tarus, a local community leader.
The protests came just days after Prof Ayiro, who was hired by Daystar University after being kicked out of Moi, was feted as Kenya's best VC at the Uongozi Awards.
Like the proverbial stone that was rejected by the builder only to become the cornerstone, the don was recognised for his outstanding leadership that also saw Daystar bag top honours at the event.
"It is with utmost humility and gratitude to God that I am honoured to have been awarded the Vice Chancellor of the Year 2023 at the Uongozi Awards," Prof Ayiro posted on his Facebook page on November 24, 2023.
"Daystar University has been recognised as the most preferred tertiary institution at the East African Employability Summit and Career Awards 2022/2023. We are immensely grateful for the recognition and proud of the achievements of Daystar University! The glory is His!"
The protesters claimed that local politicians incited them to demonstrate against Prof Ayiro in 2016.
"Since Prof Ayiro left this university, we have never had a performer like him. We thought the university would excel if we had one of our own. We are demanding that a competent leader be appointed as VC of Moi University," said Irene Too, one of the protesters.
In 2016, Uasin Gishu political leaders led by then Governor Jackson Mandago, his Elgeyo Marakwet counterpart Alex Tolgos, MPs Oscar Sudi (Kapseret), Silas Tiren (Moiben), James Bett (Kesses) and Uasin Gishu County Assembly Speaker Isaac Terer vowed to stop the university's 32nd graduation ceremony if the government did not appoint Prof Kosgey as a substantive VC.
The leaders claimed that an 'outsider' had been appointed to head the university.
The community members from the Kesses sub-county accused the local leaders of abandoning them in the fight against bad governance at the institution, which has been embroiled in ugly management politics.
The demonstrators called on President William Ruto to intervene, urging him not to be swayed by local politics and tribalism in appointing the next VC of the university, saying it should be based on merit.
Among other things, the protesters said cases of sexual harassment of female students had increased since Prof Kosgey took over as VC.
Ms Too, a former employee of the university, claimed that the safety of students, especially female students, had been compromised. He alleged that there was rampant sale of alcohol to students, with mushrooming bar business inside and outside the university.
They also claimed that corruption was rife at the institution and demanded that the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) investigate the apple farming project, which they described as a white elephant project.
"Two years ago, this university pumped millions of shillings into the apple farming project to raise funds to supplement government funding, promising to raise Sh80 billion, but so far the project has failed as individuals have pocketed the money meant for the ambitious project," Ms Too alleged.
Mr Tarus accused Prof Kosgey of killing all the projects started by his predecessors.
"There were so many corporate social responsibility projects that the university had, but since Prof Ayiro's departure, we have not seen any, yet funds have been allocated for the same," Mr Tarus alleged.
The locals also alleged that the university was not remitting workers' deductions to their welfare scheme. They also accused the management of closing down a mill that served local farmers and was also a learning resource for students.
Human rights activists led by Kimutai Kirui accused Prof Kosgey of nepotism and corruption.
Mr Kirui demanded the relocation of a police post at the university, saying it was being used to protect the interests of the VC.
"We are demanding the removal of a police post at the university, which is used by the VC for his protection," said Mr Kirui.
Other grievances on the nine-point list include irregular dismissl of workers, irregular transfer of workers and the redeployment of all security personnel at the university, among others.