Kenya: Omtatah Asks Court to Suspend Ku Hospital Launch

14 October 2019

A dispute over management of the Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital on Monday landed in the corridors of justice.

Activist Okiya Omtatah filed a case seeking to stop its official launch this week as a State parastatal, arguing the move would be contrary to the law.

Mr Omtatah argues that the 650-bed facility was set up as a referral and research hospital under the said university hence an attempt to take it away is contrary to the law when it comes to protecting the university's name and assets from third parties.

He further states that even though the hospital was constructed using government loans, it has largely remained under the management of the university.

LEGAL NOTICE

The activist also notes that a legal notice issued in January, directing that the facility be a separate State corporation or parastatal, is unlawful.

The legal notice saw Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki appoint Andrew Toro as acting Chief Executive Officer in April in the disputed hospital which will be run by the board.

According to Mr Omtatah, individuals who may resign from other places of work to take appointments at the hospital will suffer irreversible damage should the case succeed.

He also fears that the board and management of the hospital may enter into contractual agreements that will remain binding even if the case succeeds,

As such, he has requested the court to consider suspending the hospital's planned launch between October 14- 16 or on any other date.

"From the Constitution, the Universities Act 2012 and Kenyatta University' Charter, Statutes and Strategic plan, the hospital is an integral part of the varsity hence legal notice No. 2 of January 22, 2019, which purports to establish it as separate State corporation or parastatal is a nullity in law," the activist says.

PARTIES

Mr Omtatah has sued KU, President Uhuru Kenyatta and the Attorney-General and listed the varsity's council, the staff union and the Katiba Institute as interested parties.

The Sh8 billion hospital is expected to provide specialised treatment, especially for tumours, alongside training and research.

It has been lying idle for about two years following a row between the university and the government on who should manage it.

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