Whenever I read anything from Caroline Mutoko, I see middle-class arrogance. She epitomizes the character of Maria Antoinette – profligate, promiscuous and arrogant. To say less, arrogance is her hallmark. Her recent disparaging facebook post on one Olive Mugenda, the immediate former V.C of Kenyatta University did not miss my attention. The ostentatious queen of gutter press discredited the efforts made by the former V.C to make K.U a world class university. In her argument, Mutoko opined that Oxford has less fancy buildings than K.U but offers one of the best education in research and education. How do you compare Oxford with K.U? Anyway, it’s to the credit of Mugenda if the buildings there are better than those at Oxford. I disagree with this feminist who thinks that what Mugenda did at K.U was useless.
I am a student at Moi University; the second university to be established in Kenya. During the same time that Mugenda served as V.C Moi has had its own V.C in the name of Mibey, both of equal scholarly standing. What has transpired in Moi within the past decade is the opposite of what has happened in K.U. It has been a journey down to the trenches for Moi. To illustrate, the roof of LH1, a lecture hall that was built to host 300 students is crumbling. When it rains, there’s no difference between those studying beneath trees and those inside the hall. Mind you the 300 hundred capacity hall hosts over 700 students. Within the same period of time that K.U has erected a post modern library, a state of the art Uni-citi and other student’s social amenities. Conversely, Moi hasn’t constructed even a single pavement. The place is clustered with endless footpaths cutting across the green fields leaving it look like a huge boma village. Social amenities like common rooms that are reserved for recreational purposes have long since been converted to rooms of residence.
I understand that the primary role of a university is to mould students into men and women of substance. But who said that it can’t be done in a dignified manner? What ails our nation today is that attitude of settling for mediocrity. The hypocritical nature of our middle class is more than we can bear. They send their kids to the Braeburns and Brookhouses of this nation for their primary education but can’t afford to see anyone doing anything decent for people who are acquiring their university education. Who doesn’t know who get admitted to Kenyan universities? Is it not the bright and talented Kenyans who can’t afford to go abroad for university or the expensive private universities in Kenya? Who said that the sons and daughters of the poor cannot learn and walk in lawns cut with lawn mowers other than those grazed on by cattle? No, Kenyan youth deserve better. And that’s what Olive Mugenda was doing, bringing the Oxford experience to Kenya. I wonder why Caroline Mutoko thinks that is fancy.
On the issue of student/lecturer ratio everyone knows that the challenge is facing all universities in Kenya. Caroline’s attempt to portray K.U as an exception is scandalous. From the information I have, Moi University has opened more satellite campuses than the combined two of its contemporaries. From my point of view, Mutoko is either jealous of Mugenda’s achievements or it’s just her disdainful nature. Mugenda is in her own league. She has set the pace by showing we don’t need expatriates to get things done. The public outcry in Kenya is about public officers who are using their positions to loot from the very institutions they are supposed to nurture. Mugenda has been the exception, her legacy is great. She was a transformative leader. To hell with Caroline Mutoko