THE SRC MUST SAVE ACADEMIA FROM POLITICS, By Dr. George Got Akuno

Today, I wish to share this experience I had two years ago with my Professsor and reflect on the huge task facing the Salaries and Remuneration Commission. The Professor am talking about is a Professor of Internal Medicine, HematoOncology. He is basically the expert in managing Cancers of the blood and lymphatic system. He is a Professor in a Kenyan Public University.


To get here, this was his journey. He had is Primary Education in Colonial times in a missionary School, for about 8 years. He went to Secondary School, I guess for 3-4 years. He must have done very well and went for his A-level education most likely in Biology, Chemistry and mathematics for 2 years. Then went on to the School of medicine graduating as a general medical Doctor after 6-7 years. Probably worked in the Civil service for 3 years before getting enrolled for a Master of Medicine degree, M.MED in Internal Medicine. He has taken 4 years in the M.MED. He has had to work for 3 years to get recognition as a Physician Internist. In fact he has taken 27 years in School to get here, but he has to do more. He has worked hard and secured some chance in a foreign country to study HeamatoOncology. It took him about 5 years to get this recognition. By this time he had joined the University as a tutorial fellow rising to the position of a senior lecturer. As we talked two years ago, He had just been appointed as an associate professor of Medicine in a Public University after several years of waiting.


When we talked on the subject of his pay, it was shocking to the heart. As an associate Prof in one of the most challenging fields of Medicine, training new doctors doing more research publishing books and disseminating knowledge, he earned a basic Salary of Kshs. 96,000 pm. Cumulative his Gross salary before the Taxman came calling was just about Kshs. 250,000! Two years ago, a fellow professor who is his agemate quit the Lecture Halls and was lucky to get Elected to the Kenyan National Assembly, at the time. His taxable Basic Pay was Kshs. 200,000. The MP had a Raft of other NON_TAXABLE ALLOWANCES THAT PUSHED HIS PAY TO JUST OVER KSHS. 1 MILLION. IT IS ALL WITHIN THE SAME PUBLIC SERVICE. THESE TWO PROFESSORS ARE BOTH EMPLOYED BY THE TAX PAYER ONE IN ACADEMIA THE OTHER IN POLITICS.


This was a real discussion, it is not imaginary. So in this election cycle, so many University Lecturers have departed the 9 Public Universities to go into Elective politics. As this happens more Universities, in fact 14 Public University Colleges are line up for Charters in the next year or so but where are the teachers, where are the professors?


They are all lining up to go to Bunge where there has been Easy Money! What does it take to qualify to be an MP? What does it take to qualify to be a Professor of HematoOncology? You have the answer. If this Nation will ever progress, we must disabuse ourselves of the Notion that worthy service to the public can only be rendered when we go into POLITICAL OFFICE.


But saying alone does not matter, how we compensate persons in the two sectors of Public Service will determine the Public perception and the mobility of personnel. The SRC has a plateful of work to do to get people rightly compensated especially Academia which definitely will collapse and be merged into politics. If we doubt this we should ask Professors: Saitoti( RIP), Margaret Kamar, Sam Ongeri et al. Prof Ongeri is a Professor of Paediatric Surgery, he departed the KNH and UoN Medical School some years back to join Politics, We had 222 MPs in the last Bunge. We have not been able to replace Prof Ongeri at the KNH/ UoN as a Prof. of Paediatric Surgery.


So today I want ask, do we need the good Professor more in Bunge or at the KNH doing life saving surgery on Kenyan children born with an array of malformations? MS Sarah Serem, the SRC Chair should give us the answer.


Article Tags: #academia #politics #renumeration
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