Achievements and Milestones

Faculty of Science staff when Chemistry was located at Main Campus Hyslop Buiding (Prof Robins, Dr Desai Dr Herbin and others in Photo.

On 20th May 1964, the Royal College Nairobi was renamed "University College of Nairobi". On the attainment of "University College" status, the institution was admitted into Special Relation with the University of London in February 1961, and prepared students in the Faculties of Arts, Science and Engineering Degree of the University of London.


The Chairpersons of the Department of Chemistry (1961 - 2021)

Prof.JohnM.Onyari                 (2015-To Date)
Prof. Amir O. Yusufu        (2009-2015)
Prof. Duke Orata (2007-2009)
Prof. Isaac Jumba (2002-2007)
Prof.David.N.Kariuki (1998-2001)            
Prof. Peter M. Gitu (1992-1997)             
Prof. Abdulghafur El-Busaidy(1983-1992
Prof. Shem O. Wandiga (1976-1983)             
Prof. Peter Robins (1961-1976

The Department of Chemistry is one of the four Departments in the Faculty of Science & Technology. It was started in 1956 under the Faculty of Science offering sub-degree courses in Chemistry of the then Royal Technical College. The degree courses gained full status in 1961 when the Royal Technical College became the Royal College, Nairobi. During these early days, the Department was located at the University of Nairobi Main Campus in the present Hyslop Building. The department moved from Main Campus to Chiromo Campus in 1974 after completion of Physical Sciences Complex. The Department has fully equipped laboratories as well as adequate facilities for teaching and research. Both undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes are offered in the Department.

The Faculty of Science dates back to 1964 and consisted of the Departments of Botany, Chemistry, Geology, Geography, Mathematics, Meteorology, Physios and Zoology. The Departments were situated in part in the Gandhi Wing and in part in the Hyslop Building. Prof Robins was among the founding members staff and others recruited over time. Mr. B.W. Macharia was appointed as Lecturer, Chemistry, Effective 19th September, 1973 (Confirmed 1975).



Construction of Physical Sciences Complex

The Physical Sciences Complex was constructed at the Chiromo Campus at a cost of £500,000 and was completed in late 1974. The project was constructed under agreement between Kenya Government and the Government of the Kingdom of Norway. NORAD represented the Government of Norway and a Norwegian firm of architects and consulting engineers, Norconsult A. N., were the project architects. The construction was undertaken by Golar & Co. Ltd., after award of tender in May 1973. The Physical Sciences Complex included offices, laboratories, workshops, lecture theatres, a hall of residence and completion of the project was expected to ease congestion at the main campus.

Once completed in 1974, the Departments of Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Geology and Meteorology all moved from the main Campus. The Faculty of Science admitted 154 students in 1974/75 academic year.


Chemistry staff news (1972-1975):

Dr. S.O. Wandiga was appointed Lecturer in October 1972 effective 2nd October, 1974. Dr. P. GITU also appointed as Lecturer in Chemistry in 1974. Mr. J. Irina, resigned as Lecturer, Chemistry Effective 5th Jan 1975.


NORAD Visit in 1976:

A team of NORAD officials comprising the NORAD Representative Mrs. E. Bjordal, the Assistant Resident Representative Mr. Selving and the Secretary Miss 'Lodrup visited the University of Nairobi on 11th May, 1976. They visited various faculties where NORAD assistance had been utilized such as the faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Electrical Engineering, the Physical Science Building complex and the Dag Hammarskjold Hall (i.e. Hall 10).

Professor Robins, head, Department of Chemistry, takes the visitors round his department. Inside this Laboratory, explaining what was done with the NORAD assistance

At the faculty of Science, the visiting delegates were received by the Dean of the Faculty, Professor G.O.P. Obasi who, together with Professor Robins of Department of Chemistry and Skinner of Department of Physics took them round the new Physical Science Building complex. The visitors were taken round and visited the departments of Meteorology, Chemistry, Physics and the Institute of Computer Science.


Chemistry staff news (1976-1980):

In 1976 Dr. D. Odhiambo was promoted to Professor of Chemistry and Dr. P.K. Aggarwal appointed as a Lecturer Chemistry and Dr. A. Herbin Lecturer and Mr. J.A Ogur Tutorial Fellow Contracts renewed. Dr. R.M. Munavu appointed as Lecturer Chemistry in March 1976. Other members of staff Dr Desai, Dr Mengech etc.

New Appointments and promotions in 1980 included Mr. S.K. Arap Koske Lecturer Chemistry, Dr. J.M. Molepo Lecturer Chemistry, Dr. D.N. Kariuki Snr. Lecturer, Dr. R.M. Munavu Snr. Lecturer, Mrs. W.A.O. Odinga Tutorial Fellow and Mr. C.G. Nyaga: Tutorial Fellow, Department of Chemistry.


Chemistry staff news (1981-1988):

Dr Jacob Midiwo and Dr Phillip Okinda Owuor were employed as Lecturers in 1981. In 1984. Prof. G.M. Miller a visiting Professor took over as the new Director of the University of California/University of Nairobi Exchange Link. Under the Education Abroad Programme of the University of California, an exchange arrangement exists between the two universities whereby students from University of California visit the University of Nairobi for a period of one academic year. In return, members of staff of the University of Nairobi, under staff development programme, go for postgraduate degree studies in any of the nine campuses of the University of California. Prof. Miller was appointed as visiting Professor in the Department of Chemistry with effect from July 1984.

Other Chemistry staff included Dr. A.R. Tindimubona, Dr Annalee N Mengech, Dr. Sreekantha Jonnalagadda, Dr Shamim, Dr Karuu etc.


Inaugural Lectures by staff from Department of Chemistry:

  1. Prof. Peter Robins Professor of Chemistry Title: "Chemistry and Archeology a Meeting Place for Two Cultures" Date: 25th Nov. 1966
  2. Prof. S.O. Wandiga Professor of Chemistry Title: "The Coming of Age of Environmental Chemistry: A Critical Review of the Past, Present, and Future Trends" Date: 20th July 1989


Chemistry staff in 1986/87

        Name                                                               Designation

  1. Dr. El-Bussaidy, A.H.S                                   Snr. Lecturer/Chairman
  2. Mrs. M. Kihara                                                Secretary
  3. Dr. G.H. Miller                                                 Visiting Professor
  4. Dr. P.M, Gitu                                                   Snr. Lecturer
  5. Dr. D.N, Kariuki                                              Snr. Lecturer
  6. Dr. R.M, Munavu                                            Snr. Lecturer
  7. Dr. A. Ng’eny Mengech                                  Snr. Lecturer
  8. Dr. J.A. Ogur                                                  Snr. Lecturer
  9. Dr. N. Desai                                                   Lecturer
  10. Dr. J.E. Oluka                                                Lecturer
  11. Dr. J.B. Screekanth,                                       Lecturer
  12. Mr. S.K. Arap Koske                                      Lecturer
  13. Dr. A.R. Tindimubona                                    Lecturer
  14. Dr. J.O. Midiwo                                              Lectuer
  15. Dr. A.A. Aradi                                                 Lecturer(study leave)
  16. Dr. M. Shamim                                              Lecturer
  17. Dr. R. Deng                                                   Lecturer
  18. Dr. V.D. Nair                                                  Lecturer
  19. Dr. G.N. Kamau                                            Lecturer
  20. Dr. B. Bhatt                                                   Lecturer
  21. Mr. J.D. Kibinda                                            Chief Technologist
  22. Miss L. Njenga                                             Tutorial Fellow(study leave)
  23. Miss W.A Odinga                                         Asst. Lecturer
  24. Mr. S.P.K. Karuu                                          Tutorial Fellow
  25. Mr. I. Jumba                                                 Tutorial Fellow
  26. Mr. J.P.Y. Mbugua                                         Snr. Technician
  27. Mr. K.M. Said                                                Snr. Technician          
  28. Mr. M.M. Njau                                                Snr. Technician
  29. Mr. G. Katiku                                                 Snr. Technician
  30. Mr. J.S. Amani                                              Technician
  31. Mr. Z.P. Kithinji                                              Technician
  32. Mr. R.M. Lewela                                            Technician
  33. Mr. S.K. Mwangi                                            Technician
  34. Mr. F.A. Otakwa                                             Technician
  35. Mr. I.M. Waweru                                            Technician


Department of Chemistry Kibwezi farm:

The Institute of Dryland Research, Development and Utilization (IDRDU) was established in August 1995 to find solutions to the above problems in the arid and semi-arid lands (ASALS) areas. The IDRDU has a national mandate to develop, through research, various dryland farming technologies and resoruce management strategies which are both economically and ecologically sound for sustainable long term utilization of the arid and semi-arid lands of Kenya. The Department of Chemistry established a 10 ha land-for the Chamomilla and other Projects (See Link for Photographs).


Department of Chemistry Staff in 2011

1. Prof. Shem O. Wandiga Professor

2. Prof Raphael Munavu Professor

3. Prof Isaac O. Jumba Professor

4. Prof Geoffrey N. Kamau Professor

5. Prof. Jacob O. Midiwo Professor

6. Prof. Peter M. Gitu Professor

7. Prof. Duke O. Orata Associate Professor

8. Prof David N. Kariuki Associate Professor

9. Prof Abiy Yenesew Associate Professor

10. Prof Bhalendu M. Bhatt Associate Professor19

11. Prof Lydia W. Njenga Associate Professor

12. Prof Paul M. Shiundu Associate Professor

13. Dr. Jacob P. Kithinji Snr. Lecturer

14. Dr. Helen N. Njenga Snr Lecturer

15. Dr. John M. Onyari Snr Lecturer

16. Dr. Amir O. Yusuf Snr Lecturer-(Chairman)

17. Dr. Evans Kituyi Snr Lecturer

18. Dr. Wenwa A. odinga Snr Lecturer

19. Dr. David K. Kariuki Snr Lecturer

20. Dr. Joseph M. Mwaniki Snr Lecturer

21. Dr. Solomon Derese Snr Lecturer

22. Mr. Charles W. Mirikau Lecturer

23. Dr.Fredrick O. Oduor Lecturer

24. Dr. Patricia Gitari Lecturer

25. Dr.Martin N. Mbugua Lecturer

26. Mr. Jumaa M. Makopa Lecturer

27. Mr. Godfrey A. Wafula Lecturer

28. Dr. Benson M. Wamalwa Lecturer

29. Immaculate N. Michira Lecturer

30. Dr. Peterson M. Guto Lecturer

31. Dr. John M. Wanjohi Lecturer

32. Dr. Leonida O. Kerubo Lecturer

33. Dr. Damaris W. Mbui Lecturer

34. Dr Deborah Abongo Lecturer

35. Dr. Jairo A. Ndakala Lecturer

36. Ms. Immaculate Achieng’ Odero Tutorial Fellow

37. Mr. Erick K. korir Tutorial Fellow

38. Mr. Njagi Njomo Tutorial Fellow

39. Ms. Beth Ndunda Tutorial Fellow

40. Mr. John N. Wabomba Tutorial Fellow

41. Mr. Vincent O. Madadi Tutorial Fellow

42. Mrs. Marina Mukabi Assistant Lecturer

43. Mr Fredrick Mwanzighe Graduate Assistant

44. Mr Wilson Tonkei Graduate Assistant

45. Ms Rachael Njogu Graduate Assistant



Department of Chemistry Staff Team Building in 2019 at United Kenya Club

Chemistry Department team Building @United Kenya Club
Chemistry team building event


Achievements and Miletones

The Department currently handles about 1800 undergraduate students each academic year and about thirty (30) Master of Science and eight (8) Ph.D students each year.  These students are handled by 47 academic members of staff in the areas of Physical, Organic, Inorganic, Environmental, Analytical and Industrial Chemistry.

The Department offers the following undergraduate programmes: Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, Bachelor of Science in Industrial Chemistry and Bachelor of Science in Analytical Chemistry.  In addition, the Department also services various schools and faculties as follows: Agriculture, Design, Engineering, Medicine and Pharmacy.

It also offers postgraduate programmes leading to Master of Science in Chemistry, Master of Science in Industrial Chemistry, Master of Science in Analytical Chemistry and Master of Science in Environmental Chemistry and PhD programme leading to PhD in Chemistry.  Undergraduate programmes are offered during the day only while MSc programmes are offered during both day and evening. During the 2020/21 academic year, 63rd & 64th graduation, the department produced five (5) PhD Students, twelve (12) MSc and ninety eight (98) BSc students. During the same year the Department enrolled a total of 161 new students admitted to chemistry programmes.


The Department is in possession of the following pieces of equipment which has made research possible: 60MHz & 400MHz Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), Infrared Spectrophotometer (IR), Gas-Chromatograph (GC), Gas Chromatograph-Mass Spectrometer (GC-MS), HPLC, Atomic Absorption Spectrometer (AAS), Flame Photometer, UV/Vis Spectrophotometer and X-ray diffractometer.


As part of income generating activities, the Department engages in the following consultancies: Chemical Processes and Technologies, Pollution and Environmental Control and Monitoring, Quality Assurance and Specialized Laboratory Analysis, Domestic water analysis (BOD, COD, chloride, fluoride, sulphate, phosphate, total suspended solids, total dissolved solids, E-coli, metal ion), waste water analysis, impact assessment studies, pesticide analyses, fire disaster analysis just to mention a few.  Detergents and shampoos are also manufactured for sale to clients both within and without. In addition we also train clients at a fee on how these products can be prepared.

The Department has a long history with NMR instrumentation. It was the first instiution in the East and Central Africa region to acquire an NMR, a Perkin Elmer 60MHz in the mid 70's, then a top of the range instrument.

Perkin Elmer  60MHz
Perkin Elmer 60 MHz NMR


Department Of Chemistry Staff 2021


  1. Midiwo Jacob O
  2. Jumba Isaac O.
  3. Orata Duke Omondi
  4. Yenesew Abiy

Associate Professors

  1. Bhatt Bhalendu
  2. Yusuf Amir Okeyo
  3. Kariuki David K.
  4. Njenga Lydia W.
  5. Njenga Hellen N.
  6. Kithinji Jacob Peter
  7. Onyari John M.
  8. Kerubo Leonidah Omosa

Senior Lecturers

  1. Wanjohi John Muraba
  2. Odinga Wenwa-Akinyi
  3. Mwaniki Joseph M
  4. Ndakala Albert Jairo O.
  5. Michira Immaculate Nyambura
  6. Mbui Damaris Nduta
  7. Guto Peterson Momanyi
  8. Mbugua Martin Njogu
  9. Derese Solomon
  10. Oduor Fredrick D O
  11. Onyatta John Onam
  12. Wabomba John Namakwa
  13. Abong'o Deborah Atieno
  14. Madadi Vincent Odongo


  1. Njomo Njagi
  2. Ndunda Beth
  3. Were Faridah Hussein
  4. Njagi-Kithure Joyce G.
  5. Mukabi Marina
  6. Wamalwa Benson Munyali
  7. Odhiambo Ruth Akech
  8. Bosire Geoffrey Orina
  9. Tum Patrick Kimutai
  10. Mirikau Charles Wakhu
  11. Makopa Jumaa M
  12. Wafula Godfrey Angoe

Tutorial Fellows

  1. Mwazighe Fredrick Mzee
  2. Njogu Rachael Everlyn



Principla Technologist

1.Ms. Annanciata M. Muia

 Chief Technologist

2. Mr. Evans M. Kimega

 Assistant Chief Technologist

3. Mrs. Alice W. Ndekei

 4. Dr. Benard K. Rop

 Senior Admin Assistant

5.Ms. Rose M. Makewa

Admin  Asstistant- PACN

6.Mr. Erick O. Awas

Senior Technologist

7.Ms. Felistas N. Wainaina

 8.Mr. Ephantus Mwangi

 9.Ms. Veronica M. Muinde

 10. Ms. Mary W. Nyuthe

 11. Mr. John K. Njenga

12. Mrs. Marion N. Checha

 13. Mr. Wilfred B. Orangi

 14. Mr. Geoffrey K. Kaptich


15. Ms. Emma N. Kamau

 16. Ms. Alice M. Mutua

 17. Mr. Douglas A. Okumu

 18. Mr. Emmanuel K. Terer

 19. Ms. Maureen W. Waweru

20. Ms. Beth W. Irungu

21. Mr. Nicholas M. Sirr

 22. Ms. Flora M. Lemiso


23. Mr. Robert K. Langat

 Assistant Secretary

24. Ms. Caroline Makandi


Department of Chemistry staff: Other appointments;

  1. Prof Wandiga Chancellor, Egerton University, 26th July, 2013. Professor Wandiga was also Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration and Finances) of the University (1987-94). 2nd March, 1988 -25th may 1994. October 1983 -3rd June 1987 Principal, College of Biological and Physical Sciences.
  2. Prof. Raphaeal M. Munavu, served as the Vice-Chancellor of Moi University from July 14th, 1998 to September 19th, 2002; and   served as the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration and Finance) at the University of Nairobi (1994-1998) and at Egerton University (1992-1994). He was the founding Principal of Laikipia College of Egerton University (1990- 1992).
  3. Prof Isaac Jumba October, 2007 to date: Deputy Principal, and now Principal, College of Education and External Studies Kenya Science Campus, University of Nairobi.
  4. Prof. Lydiah Wanjiru Njenga, Director, Graduate School, University of Nairobi.


Detergent Production Unit Products

1. Multipurpose

                                       Mutlipurpose soap














2. Dish Washing.

                                                         Dish Wash














3. Hair Shampoo.

                                                            Hair shampoo















4. Carpet Shampoo

                                                    Carpet Shampoo


















                                                    Hand Wash
















Cooperation between Department of Chemistry and DOW

The cooperation between the Department of Chemistry, University of Nairobi, and Dow began in 2011 during the celebration of the International Year of Chemistry, IYC 2011. Dow sponsored the launch of the celebration that was held at CCU on March 25th2011, see below. The Department has recently received assistance from DOW for improvement of learning facilities.

                                     Chemistry 2011 celebrations
                                           Dr. Madadi taking round visitors during the celebrations



BASF EA Skills Training For Chemistry 4th Year Students (Shampoo Formulation)

BASF training Fourth years on shampoo formulation


                           BASF training