Probe Meru University unrest, Education CS Machogu told

Meru University

The entrance of the Meru University of Science and Technology.

Photo credit: Charles Wanyoro| Nation Media Group

Senate Deputy Speaker Kathuri Murungi now wants Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu to form a committee to investigate the cause of unrest at the Meru University of Science and Technology.

The Meru senator waded into the matter even as some student leaders alleged that woes facing Vice Chancellor Prof Romanus Odhiambo were an extension of political power play between President William Ruto and Azimio leader Raila Odinga.

Mr Murungi said leaders in Meru will not watch the only public university in the county collapse due to bad leadership.

Over the past three years, there have been protracted battles between Prof Odhiambo and workers, with lecturers staging several strikes accusing him of mismanaging the institution and embezzlement of funds.

On Monday, it culminated in the university council sending Prof Odhiambo on a 121-day terminal leave and declining to renew his five-year term that expires on August 6.

Prof Charity Gichuki, DVC Administration, Finance and Planning, was appointed to take over in an acting capacity.

The council cited underperformance as the reason but Prof Odhiambo hit back, saying he was being targeted by some people whose intention is to settle political scores.

This ignited protests by students who went on the rampage on Friday demanding that the VC be reinstated with immediate effect. They vowed to continue with demos until he was back in office as they engaged police in running battles.

Mr Murungi said the Education CS should investigate the matter.

“Tribal issues are being played by those who want to bring politics into this matter. As the Meru senator, I won’t mind a VC from any part of Kenya. What we want to see is growth and prosperity of Meru University,” Mr Murungi said in a phone interview.

Universities Academic Staff Union Meru branch chairman Victor Mugambi said Prof Odhiambo had wasted funds by opening the Nairobi office, where he also hired staff “irregularly”, accusations Prof Odhiambo denied.