Maasai Mara VC Prof Mary Walingo Biography, Allegations Of Corruption And Sacking Of Sankale

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Maasai Mara VC Prof Mary Walingo Biography, Allegations Of Corruption And Sacking Of Sankale
Maasai Mara VC Prof Mary Walingo Image/Courtesy

Professor Mary Walingo is the Vice Chancellor of the Maasai Mara University.

She has been making headlines in the recent two years over allegations swindling of funds from the university.

Background

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Pro. Walunge was born on January 1, 1963 in the Lukume area, West Kabras, Kakamega County in a large family of 14.

A local daily previously reported that the professor comes from a privileged background, and those who have known her for a long time, refer to the professor as a “daddy’s girl”.

She is the daughter of a pioneer Mukabaras businessman who eventually became one of the wealthiest people in that region.

The Walingo family was insistent on the value of education in society and as a result, the Maasai Mara VC and her siblings were well educated. All of the 14 Walingo siblings boast decent professions-teachers, economists, marketers, and entrepreneurs.

Education

Prof. Walingo attained a Bachelor of Education in Home Economics from Kenyatta University in 1986, followed by a Masters of Science in Applied Nutrition from the University of Nairobi in 1991.

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In 1998, she attained her Doctorate Degree of Philosophy in Food and Nutrition, Acharya National Guard Ranga Agricultural University, Hyderabad, India.

According to her personal web page, the VC holds a PhD in Food and Nutrition with a strong inclination to food security and nutrition, MBA Strategic Management, MSc Applied Human Nutrition, and Bachelor of Education degrees.

File image of Maasai Mara VC Prof. Mary Walingo. |Photo| Courtesy|
File image of Maasai Mara VC Prof. Mary Walingo. |Photo| Courtesy|

Career

She boasts experience lecturing at University level for about 20 years and has supervised postgraduate research in food security, land use, nutrition and expenditure.

Prof. Walingo kicked off her career in the Education sector in 1991 at the Maseno University. Out of her sharp brains and sheer will to succeed, she rose from mere Professor to become the institution’s Deputy Vice Chancellor, Finance.

Prof. Walingo then moved to Murang’a University College where she became its first principal. While at the institution, she applied to become Maasai Mara University’s vice chancellor.

The earlier days of her stint at Maasai Mara were marred with massive challenges and opposition. Being a woman, in a community with diverse values and regard for roles in society, she imposed her self as a sound leader with clear goals and ambitions for the institution.

Prof. Walingo rooted out what she deemed as ‘idlers and jokers’ within the university’s staff.

She was described as the iron lady at the institution for her no-nonsense approach in tackling issues that dragged the university’s excellence. She suspended students who rioted and imposed heavy fines on student offenders. This restored normalcy and order to the institution.

Scandal

Prof. Walingo in the recent years has faced damning accusations that have damaged her reputation.

In 2019, she was subjected to an expose’ dubbed the Mara Heist that aired on Citizen TV. This marked the beginning of dirt stains in her otherwise unblemished career.

Spencer Sankale, the university’s senior accountant, exposed a scheme through which Prof. Walingo allegedly swindled Ksh177 million from the institution.

These allegations set up dates with the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the Director of Public Prosecutions.

In 2020, DPP Noordin Haji ordered the arrest of VC Walingo, a year after she had been accused of fraud and embezzlement of public funds.

She along with four others were charged with 10 counts aligned with misappropriation of public funds.

The others include; Professor Simon Kasaine Ole Seno (Deputy Vice-Chancellor Finance), Professor John Almadi Obere (Acting Deputy VC Academic), Anaclet Biket Okumu (Finance Officer) and Noor Hassan Abdi (Walingo’s driver).

Sankale’s sacking

On June 19, the Maasai Mara University council released a statement dated June 17, in which, they announced the sacking of Sankale.

The former senior accountant was accused of 9 charges. They included: incitement of the university staff and the public against the University, sustained insolence against the institution and malicious misrepresentation of his employer.

Other charges included libel and defamation and falsely portraying the image and reputation of the university.

Sankale was also charged with insubordination and failure to act in the best interest of the university, subverting the university standard and procedure, and cyberbullying.

“Due to the aforementioned, the Council resolved to summarily terminate your employment with the university with immediate effect, in accordance with section 44 (4)(d)(g) of the Employment Act.

“Note that you shall be paid a one month’s salary in lieu of notice,” the statement read in part.

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