Editor’s note: Professor Lukoye Atwoli, a psychiatrist teaching mental health at Moi University School of Medicine, lends a glimpse of the culmination of the current tussle over UoN’s VC post.

The University of Nairobi.


What is happening there is emblematic of the state of higher education in Kenya. The infiltration of political influence over the academic enterprise, which started in earnest in the early 1980s, has reached its peak with the UoN.

In the past, the university influenced the politics, and often shook the status quo. Today the university is influenced by politics, and shakes in the face of the status quo.

The hallowed corridors of the Academy are today proudly filled with chattering barbarians, and most offices are occupied by clueless idiots just waiting for instructions from their version of ‘above’ to act.

The intellectuals have been left to grovel for morsels that inadvertently fall off the high table on which the barbarians dine. They have been reduced to clerks, recording events as they occur, rather than influencing the events themselves.

The intellectuals remaining in the bastardized Ivory Tower have been muzzled and shackled to their stations, engaging in Sisyphean tasks instead of changing the future today.

The sector regulator has learnt from the ‘best’ and picked the most uneducated counterfeit academics to develop regulations. And they have not disappointed.

They have developed regulations institutionalizing mediocrity and severely punishing innovation and true academic effort.

They have introduced managerialism into the sector, killing off the remaining academic fire by requiring that academic work be tracked using an accountant’s metric, and that the teacher be imprisoned on her desk writing report after report, rather than thinking up solutions for the nation’s problems.

The Academy is dead. Long live the Academy!

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