Varsity staffers led by the vice chancellor Prof. Mabel Imbuga filled the university Assembly Hall, Tuesday August 24 2011 to pay homage to Prof. Cecelia Mwathi who died at the Nairobi Hospital Wednesday August 17, 2011. Speaker after speaker eulogized the late Mwathi as courageous and highly professional and daring scholar who worked tirelessly to promote justice in the administration of higher education in Kenya.
Largely misunderstood by many as a rebel, probably due to her heroic track record stance and motivation to serve justice, Prof. Mwathi will be perhaps remembered for singularly taking a radical stand in 2006 as Secretary General of UASU JKUAT Chapter during the industrial unrest that rocked the country’s public universities leading to her dismissal together with other Chapter officials. Prof. Mwathi and her trade union colleagues remained in the cold for 24 months until 2008 when Prof. Imbuga took over at the helm of JKUAT and announced a return to work amnesty.
In her condolence message to the family of the deceased, Prof. Imbuga paid tribute to the departed scholar saying she was instrumental at demystifying the teaching of mathematics particularly to girls, a fact that she said had inspired a significant number of girls to pursue Science, Mathematics and Technology related career in the country.
In her message Prof. Esther Kahangi, Deputy vice chancellor in charge of Research, Production, and Extension told the mourners who included Sports Permanent Secretary James Waweru; the late Mwathi was a reliable person who had rare qualities that served her well as don and religious. Prof Kahangi recalled that the deceased had taken interest in charitable work that saw here take an underprivileged orphan from her rural home in Nyeri who she had well tendered from infancy to adulthood, enabling her opportunity to receive the best possible education. The orphan who was present has successfully gone through her primary and secondary education and was due for university education. ‘The deceased defended fairness and justice to the extent of putting her job at great risk’ Prof. Kahangi said.
And Prof Romanus Odhiambo, Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Academic Affairs paid tribute a professional colleague who knew her job and fought for the weak.