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Coast counties get Sh2.3bn EU funding

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By CHARLES LWANGA
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The Jumuiya ya Kaunti za Pwani (JKP), an economic bloc geared towards empowering the Coast region, will receive a Sh2.3 billion grant from the European Union (EU) to harness the blue economy.

This was revealed during a two-day JKP meeting in Malindi attended by Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi, Dhadho Godhana (Tana River), Fahim Twaha (Lamu), Taita Taveta deputy governor Majala Mlaghui and head of EU cooperation Herbert Perr, among others.

During a briefing after a consultative meeting Friday, the county bosses, however, expressed different opinions concerning efforts to steer the economy.

Differences emerged after Mr Godhana highlighted the opportunities that can be harnessed in the blue economy sector in his county and how they can benefit from the projects.

Mr Godhana, a first-time governor, outlined his county’s strategy ranging from agriculture, fishing, aquaculture and the industrial sector.

“We have already started the journey with the EU. We got allocation to start a cold storage facility for fish and milk and the two projects are in the tendering process stage,’’ he said.

He said his county boasts a 150-kilometre stretch of River Tana, oxbow lakes and the Indian Ocean.

Mr Kingi, who is among the three JKP founders, said his vision is geared towards improving the six counties’ economies as a bloc and not as individual entities.

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Mr Emanuel Nzai, the JKP chief executive officer, said they had already identified 19 flagship projects to be implemented with a view to reaping from the blue economy to create job opportunities and boost the economy.

“The region has blue economy opportunities ranging from tourism, fishing, and aquaculture, maritime,” he said.

However, it is still not clear whether the ‘individual county interests’ will undermine the JKP ideology bearing in mind that some of the governors have not been attending the sittings.

Missing from the meeting was Mombasa’s Hassan Joho and his Kwale counterpart Salim Mvurya, who are among the founders of the JKP bloc.

“I do not wish to approach it the way my friend from Tana River has just said, it is a journey and our vision should concentrate on the larger coastal region,” said Mr Kingi.

Mr Perr said the EU was working on a plan aiming at allocating more funds to the bloc but before the bureaucratic process ends, the first amount will be released to the counties.

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Kenya: Universities in Limbo With VCs Serving in Acting Capacity

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Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendment), 2018 was signed into law in January 2019 to bring order into recruitment of top university administrators, but one year later, the chaos remains.

The Public Service Commission (PSC) has been unable to recruit vice-chancellors, deputy vice-chancellors and principals of colleges and where it has succeeded, the exercises have been challenged in court.

Last year’s appointment of Prof George Magoha, once the University of Nairobi’s VC, as Education Cabinet Secretary has not made the situation any better.

UoN CASE

As such, several universities have been left with acting managers, the latest case involving UoN, where Prof Isaac Mbeche will continue to act until a substantive VC is appointed.

The university’s council, chaired by Prof Julia Ojiambo, appointed Prof Stephen Gitahi Kiama on January 5 but the CS revoked the decision. Prof Magoha also dissolved the council.

Prof Kiama had taken over from Prof Peter Mbithi and his installation had been set for Tuesday.

Prof Mbeche has been the acting VC since July 2019, when Prof Mbithi left the institution to pave way for recruitment of a substantive VC.

COURT ORDERS

Last October, the Labour court in Eldoret suspended the appointment of Prof Anne Nangulu as Bomet University College principal.

Following a petition, the court also suspended the appointment of two deputy principals – Prof George Otieno (Deputy Principal, Academic and Student Affairs) and Prof Loice Maru (Deputy Principal, Administration and Finance).

At Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, all top four managers are also holding the positions in acting capacity despite interviews mid last year.

The vacancy positions are VC and three deputy VCs, for Academic and Student Affairs, Administration and Finance, and Planning, Research and Innovation.

MMUST tapped Prof Joseph Bosire from Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology, where he was Deputy VC for Academic Affairs since December 2018.

He headed the institution until mid last year, when he was replaced with Prof Asenath Sigot.

Dr Patrick Ojera is acting DVC Administration and Finance, Dr Benaditte Sabuni acting DVC Academic and Students Affairs, and Prof Charles Mutai acting DVC Planning , Research and Innovation.

OTHER CASES

At Taita Taveta University, Prof Fred Simiyu Barasa was appointed acting VC after Prof Hamadi Boga was appointed Agriculture Principal Secretary in 2018.

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At Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology, the PSC conducted interviews for recruitment of the Academic Affairs and Administration DVCs.

However, Prof Robert Kinyua and Prof Bernard Wamuti Ikua are still holding the respective positions in acting capacity.

In the case of Garissa University, the PSC has advertised the VC post, while at Moi University, Prof Daniel Tarus is holding the Finance DVC position in acting capacity.

At Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Prof Washington Olima is temporarily holding the Planning and Administration position.

Kibabii and Laikipia universities have no substantive DVCs, Finance and Administration.

COUNCILS’ POWERS