A year before he is due to retire from active politics, Kenyan president Daniel arap Moi has opened a private university on his 400-acre farm in Nakuru, 200km from Nairobi.
Kabarak University was issued an interim authority to admit students last month by the commission for higher education. The university is on a 40-acre site that was originally occupied by Kabarak High School, also owned by the president.
According to Benjamin Kipkulei, chairman of the board of trustees and a former Kenyan high commissioner in London, the university is expected to admit 1,500 students each year and by 2005 is expected to be the largest private university in Kenya with more than 6,000 students. The university will offer a wide range of degree courses in theology, education, business administration and finance, and communication studies. Degrees in economic studies, environmental sciences, law and agriculture will also be offered.
The new university is the sixth private university in the country to be recognised by the commission for higher education. Education minister Kalonzo Musyoka said Kabarak would offer opportunities to qualified students who failed to find a place at a public university.
Mr Moi said he started the university because of the unfulfilled demand for higher education in Kenya. "Only 35 per cent of the qualified students each year were being admitted into public and private universities," said the president.
Estimates from the ministry of education indicate that about 20,000 Kenyans were enrolled in universities outside the country.
Kenya has the largest flow of students from Africa to the United States. Last year, almost 5,000 joined universities and colleges in America. Many others joined universities in the United Kingdom, India, Canada and South Africa.
Mr Moi said that although most of the courses would be secular, the university would have a strong Christian foundation.
The university is expected to offer programmed theological degree courses for the clergy of the Africa Inland Church, which is affiliated to Pentecostal Christian denominations in the United States.