At least nine public universities in the country have vice-chancellors in acting capacities, making it difficult for them to make executive decisions for their respective institutions.
Since most of those acting in the positions are candidates likely to be interviewed by the respective universities councils, they lack courage and confidence to make hard decisions that they may consider unpopular in a bid to get to get confirmed.
Kenyatta and Moi Universities are among the institutions with acting vice-chancellors as well as seven other universities that received their charters in October last year.
Kenyatta University has been unable to recruit a vice-chancellor since 2015 when recruitment kicked off while hiring at Moi University was nullified early last year due to conflict of interest.
Other institutions with acting vice-chancellors are Rongo University, Co-operative University of Kenya, Taita Taveta University, Murang’a University of Technology , University of Embu , Machakos University and Kirinyaga University.
Best human resource practices require that those in acting capacities hold the positions for about six months during which time the appointing authority should put in place a mechanism for competitive recruitment.
At Kenyatta University for instance, the process to recruit a vice-chancellor has not been concluded following the retirement of Prof Olive Mugenda in March last year. Prof Paul Wainaina is acting.
At Moi University, Prof Laban Ayiro who was appointed acting vice-chancellor in September last year has had his acting term extended twice.
According to the Universities Act 2012, the recruitment of Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellors and principals of constituent colleges must be done through a competitive process by respective councils that are appointed by Education Cabinet Secretary.
In March the CS announced the constitution of new University Councils for 22 public institutions following the expiry of the tenure of existing councils.