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UoN leadership row: Magoha gives in to pressure

Thursday February 27 2020

Prof Stephen Gitahi Kiama,

Prof Stephen Gitahi Kiama is pictured at the University of Nairobi during the launch of its council's strategic plan for 2019-2024. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

ABIUD OCHIENG
By ABIUD OCHIENG
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Embattled University of Nairobi Vice-Chancellor Stephen Kiama will continue serving in that capacity.

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha Thursday told the Labour Court in Nairobi that he had withdrawn the letter that revoked Prof Kiama’s appointment as head of the institution.

The decision to withdraw the letter was as a result of an out-of-court settlement between the CS and Prof Kiama.

The Labour Court had earlier given the two time to negotiate.

The decision comes as a big relief to Prof Kiama who had faced rejection from a section of the university staff shortly after the revocation letter was made public.

UoN Council chair Prof Julia Ojiambo announced Prof Kiama's appointment earlier in January in a letter to university stakeholders.

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But Prof Magoha revoked the promotion, saying procedures were not followed, and dissolved the council.

The CS, a former VC at the university, immediately reinstated Prof Mbeche, the deputy VC in charge of finance, planning and development, as acting VC.

He later wrote to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) calling for investigations into the recruitment the PSC conducted on December 18, 2019.

In protest against his removal from office, Prof Kiama sued the CS and the Attorney-General and listed the UoN, Prof Mbeche and the Public Service Commission as interested parties.

KIAMA'S ARGUMENTS

In filed case documents, Prof Kiama claimed he was duly appointed in a letter dated January 3 to serve for a five-year term.

He added that he lawfully began working on January 6 as per the Universities Act and the university's charter.

The professor said revocation of his appointment was in total disregard of these facts and that it plunged the institution into total confusion, given that another person was appointed to replace him.

“The decision is unfair, irrational, unreasonable, unlawful and an affront on several statutory as well as constitutional provisions, plus the right to fair labour practices,” he said.

Prof Magoha sought 30 days last month to give dialogue a chance and avoid unnecessary litigations in court.