Concern as university student dies mysteriously

Concern as university student dies mysteriously

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Barely a week after the exposure of the filth and rot at the Club 36 where University of Nairobi students are forced to eat miserable and poorly prepared meals, this week we reveal shocking details of the deplorable state of the university student halls of residence, including congestion and filth and which some have turned into brothels.

University sources divulged that at the halls of residence, female students are forced to be wives of the financially better-off students and goons in brothel-like conditions.

This week, we also reveal the lackluster manner in which the students welfare authority, the body vested with responsibilities for catering and accommodation for students have mismanaged this all important and vital docket whose services are central to students well being.

It is shocking but common to see used condoms scattered everywhere around the hostels and within car parks. The joke at UoN is that it is only the area of the provision of free condoms that Phillip  Mbithi has succeeded since he took over the leadership of UoN.

It has now become a common joke that no other university distributes condoms more efficiently than UoN as students have condom-dispensing machines in their halls, in computer labs, in toilets and other places where students gather.

The level of prostitution at UoN has since gone up and freshers have always fall prey to the old boys. Investigations reveal that freshers arrive at the UoN without allocation of rooms and are forced to look for cheap lodgings where they lose money and valuables.

Female students from poor backgrounds who cannot afford to rent lodgings are accommodated by continuing student and who later force them to enter into relationships that end up interfering not only with their studies but contributing to social problems.

All these are happening as Isaac Mbeche who is the deputy vice chancellor (Student Affairs) and Father Wamugunda (dean of students) are busy strategising on how to keep their godfather Mbithi in office despite poor leadership riddled with corruption. They are known to receive handouts from the VC.

Investigations further show that part of the problems at SWA is linked to the bloated workforce at the department. Some of the people working there were hired recently and are Prof Mbithi’s cronies.

They include the director of SWA Jackson Maalu, F A Oyieke, Samwel Nyandemo and a Mr Were. It is also worth noting that Dr Maalu jumped from nowhere to become director of SWA, overtaking Prof Oyieke who is professionally senior than Maalu and had served as deputy director SWA.

Dr Maalu had one important qualification that he comes from the same tribe as the VC. The top management of the university is all puppets watching the university go down as if they have another one to go to.

Reports had indicated that Mbithi has mismanaged funds at the university, starting with central finance department where accounts are depleted, followed by college funds which have also been cleaned, and grants funds which he has been using irregularly and against donors regulations. To date, SWA accounts are dry and in the red.

Cases of insecurity at the UoN and around the hostels have become the order of the day. The dreaded Mamlaka Road has been turned into a toll station for goons where rape, drugs theft and all manner of trade flourishes.

Further evidence of insecurity include widespread theft of laptops in staff offices that are broken into everyday as well as breakage into staff and student cars at parking lots.

It is sad to note that a good number of the professors at the UoN are former students of the same university which is now a pale shadow of its past and remember  well of the good old days at the premier university.

The many ills bedeviling the student body is the number of students who have been robbed of their young tender lives at the university through mysterious circumstances and for unexplained reasons and others who have been left nursing serious injuries and some rendered crippled for life.

A UoN student by name Kevin Kimuger Chirchir, aged 22, passed on in Upper Kabete Campus’ Tana C Hostel after he fell from the second floor of the hostel badly injuring his forehead.

It is sad to note that at the time of the accident, there was not a single ambulance or car to transport the injured student to the hospital despite the fact that the university has a student health service and a full-fledged security department which are expected to be working on a  24-hour basis.

The students had to commandeer a university bus to take Chirchir to hospital. It was later discovered that the only ambulance at UoN had rushed another student to Kenyatta National Hospital.

The question is how on earth an institution that prides itself with a student population of upward of 80,000 students has only one ambulance despite the fact that Mbithi is driven in a powerful car sandwiched between two chase cars and the university has only one ambulance.

Mike Sonko through his rescue team would probably through his philanthropic gestures be willing to provide such emergency services to the UoN as and when required after all UoN is with the Nairobi county.

We have also gathered that the only other ambulance that once belonged to the Upper Kabete was involved in a minor road accident in September 2016. It was taken to the garage but could not be repaired even after the Sh800, 000 that had been forked by the insurance for the repairs had been siphoned for other uses.

When the UoN has no ambulances to address emergencies, last year on December 23 2016 Mbithi paid an upward of Sh300 million  to his top management, the deans and directors, heads of departments and chairmen of teaching departments as an inducement to keep silent and look the other way as he tackles the newly appointed council.

UoN dons have been wondering what became of the fate of the new UoN council after the Mbithi preferred infective and defective Idle Farah led council’s term expired.

We have also gathered that Mbeche, not to be left behind, has also allocated one of the university cars to his wife for shopping and running her other domestic errands. Where on earth does one university officer need five cars when the most important vehicle is missing, the ambulance and others allocated irregularly to their relatives?

Many dons and students now believe that Korir died because of poor leadership of Mbithi, whose administration has presided over corruption at the erstwhile premier university and ensured that there is only one functional ambulance to cater for 80,000 students – the size of a town like Sotik, Nyahururu or Kitui – and that the whole university health system has collapsed.

These deaths also condemn the leadership of the university security services department, headed by retired police officer, Wilfred Wahome, which is supposed to ensure the safety of the students, as well as the office of the dean of students led by Father Wamugunda, which is supposed to counsel students on life skills, including maintaining stable and beneficial relationships.

All this neglect of students’ health and other related matters are happening even after some of the children of senior management who are already employees elsewhere are irregularly and corruptly been using university funds for the wrong uses.

The staffer we talked to lament how Prof Mbeche’s son who is an employee at the Multimedia University was recently admitted but instead of his bill going to multimedia, it was sent to one MRB Otieno for payment.

Shockingly, Dr Otieno quickly approved the payment without batting an eye even as he neglects to equip the student health services with the much needed necessary requirements. Mbeche should be surcharged the costs and be reprimanded along with Otieno who Mbithi recently rewarded a three years postretirement contract as if nobody could match his qualifications, never mind that all along, Otieno has been holding the position in an acting capacity.

The University of Nairobi is organised into a widely dispersed college system, with each college headed by a principal. Each college is supposed to have all the facilities and resources necessary for the welfare, safety and instruction of the students. However, Mbithi has completely emasculated the principals and converted them into his personal “yes men”.  They now operate like unthinking automatons whose mission is to prop up Mbithi’s crumbling administration by pretending that all is well.

This means that a few officers are allocated at least a vehicle each, while 80,000 students have to make do with a single emergency vehicle. This shows where the priority of the administration is in terms of vehicle allocation. Student welfare is at the bottom of the hierarchy of Mbithi’s priorities. To make the matter worse, the university health services resemble a village clinic. All staff and students are commanded to report to the decrepit university clinic whenever they fall sick.

The university health clinic is understaffed and understocked. It is has no drugs or modern diagnostic equipment. Stories abound of wrong diagnosis, mixed up prescriptions, exposed patient medical records, and failure to refer patients to reputable hospitals.

There are also many instances when the university has failed to pay medical bills to private hospitals where staff and students have been hospitalised. The effect of all these is that some hospitals will not admit any patient claiming to be connected in any way from the University of Nairobi.

This means that the once reputable University of Nairobi brand has been turned into a badge of shame, a name to be whispered not proudly proffered. However, the deaths of the student could have been avoided if the university security department was professionally run. Unfortunately, Wahome presides over the terrorising of students by goons, which exist on campus with the full knowledge of his department.

Reports also link the Wahome-led security department to the mismanagement of student elections through the so-called stress management funds. These are slush funds dished out to buy students to alter the outcome of elections in favour of the administration. The staff in the unit, who are mostly trained police, military and security professionals, are thoroughly demoralised due to the corrupt practices in promotions and issuance of post retirement contracts.

A case in point involved one security man called Wambua who quickly endeared himself to Mbithi when he became VC two years ago. Besides his security duties, he quickly became Mbithi’s spanner boy, and was the trusted lieutenant running virtually all of Mbithi’s errands, both official and personal.

Unfortunately for Wambua, he was recently redeployed to Kisumu campus after he was suspected by Mbithi of being the person behind the leaking of information.

Mbithi’s wife Adelaide Mbaika Mbithi is now the administration officer at the Political Parties Dispute Tribunal.

Prof Moturi, who was instrumental in making the change of terms of service for Mrs Mbithi has been rewarded with a directorship of the Institute of Communication and Information.

Meanwhile, last week George Magoha launched his book on leadership. It was interesting to note that Mbithi had made sure that there was a parallel meeting of administrators in the pretext that it is a requirement of the performance contract.

However, the dons turned in large numbers and they remembered his leadership with nostalgia. In his speech, Prof Magoha highlighted the folly of a leader who thinks that he can only work with those of his or her own ethnicity.

These sentiments were echoed by the cabinet secretary for Education, Science and Technology, Fred Matiang’i. What was of interest were the additional comments about the way the university management has filed as many as seven court cases to stop the functioning of the newly reconstituted council.

The million dollar question both dons and students are whether Mbithi will ask the court to extend the term of the old council after it expired. Currently, Mbithi was unable to get an order that allowed him to continue with the remaining three members of the council that include Pascalia Koske, Lucy Kiyapi and Advan Sanjay whose term expires next month.

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