Meet Mary Walingo: VC Eating 'Nyasi' at Maasai Mara University

Professor Mary Walingo is the pioneer vice-chancellor of the Maasai Mara University which was upgraded from Narok University College, a constituent college of Moi University.

She is among the handful of female professors leading public higher learning institutions in Kenya.

The professor has made headlines following a damning exposé by Citizen TV that shone a light on the rampant corruption in the institution.

According to the investigative piece, the suspects used coded language to make the swindle in which the parties were referred to as cows and money was nyasi (the grass). To differentiate the value, a bundle represented Ksh 100,000.

Maasai Mara University in Narok.

"Even this other cow wants grass. Our fat cow. How much grass can you get? Can you get two bundles and a half?” directed Walingo's driver, Noor Abdi, on one occasion.

Walingo was born on January 1, 1963, in Kakamega in a large family of 14. Her mother was a strict disciplinarian.

Her academic qualifications are impressive. She has a Bachelor of Education in Home Economics from Kenyatta University in 1986, Masters of Science in Applied Nutrition, University of Nairobi, 1991 and got her Doctorate Degree of Philosophy in Food and Nutrition, Acharya National Guard Ranga Agricultural University, Hyderabad, India in 1998.

Before joining Maasai Mara in 2013, Walingo worked with Maseno University from 1991 where she rose to the rank of Deputy Head of Finance.

From Maseno, she moved to Murang’a University College where she served as the first principal for a short stint.

After that the position of the VC of Maasai Mara University was advertised, she was shortlisted, interviewed and selected.

Maasai Mara University VC Mary Walingo in her office.

In 2018, the Education Ministry re-appointed Walingo to her vice chancellor position whose term was expected to end.

In the same year, she had to defend herself over corruption allegations after a senior audit assistant wrote to EACC and the DPP to investigate her.

In a previous interview with the Nation in 2014, she noted that her journey to the current post had not been easy.

"I have had very many stumbling blocks thrown my way and suffered serious resource limitations and betrayals really nothing that is not common to many. In such cases, I have had to remain focused, with a firm resolve to achieve my goals," she was quoted by the publication.

On Sunday, the institution received water analysis equipment and facilities worth Ksh105 million to aid in research to address water challenges facing drylands and wetlands in Kenya.

Prof Mary Walingo is accused of embezzling more than Ksh190 million from Maasai Mara University.

Receiving the state of the art equipment donated by the Chinese Academy Saturday, the Vice-Chancellor thanked the Chinese Government for the donation and also for refurbishing the university’s laboratories.

“I would, first and foremost, like to thank the Chinese Academy of Sciences for their continued support and collaboration with our campus. The equipment will go a long way in helping us do further researches,” she stated.


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