Kenya: Magoha Challenges Prof Kiama Reinstatement as UON VC

22 January 2020

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha has moved to court to challenge temporary reprieve orders which reinstated Prof Stephen Kiama as the University of Nairobi's Vice-Chancellor.

In filed case documents, the CS claimed that the orders issued on Monday have occasioned miscarriage of justice. He insisted that Prof Isaac Mbeche should serve as the institution's vice-chancellor.

IRREGULARLY APPOINTED

Prof Magoha has faulted Prof Kiama for misleading the court through misrepresentation of facts. He said that the VC was irregularly appointed.

Through lawyer Evans Monari, the CS claimed that the effect of the court orders issued on Monday had paralysed critical administrative functions at the institution.

He argued that the limbo was compounded by the fact that the university has no council in place to administer its critical functions.

"It is therefore critical that the Cs exercises its supervisory powers over the university to ensure that Prof Mbeche continues to operate, pending proper substantive appointment of a VC or the determination of this suit," said Mr Monari.

DRASTIC DECISIONS

He added: "This court be pleased to discharge and set aside orders issued by Lady Justice Maureen Onyango on January 20."

According to the CS, Prof Kiama has made drastic decisions pertaining to the running and management of the university, hence compromised the interests of the institution as well as deceived the public.

Prof Kiama has also been accused of failing to disclose to the Employment and Labour Relations Court that there was another pending suit before a different division of the High Court.

Court was on Wednesday told that his appointment was unlawful because there was no consultation between the Council and the CS as required under the Universities Act.

Court has also been told that it is on the face of such blatant disregard of procedure and gross misconduct by the Council which resulted to his unlawful appointment.

OVERSIGHT ROLE

Court has further been told that as a result, Prof Magoha had to step in and exercise his oversight role to revoke his appointment as well as that of the members of the Council.

With the row over University of Nairobi's leadership at the corridors of justice, it will be interesting to see how the push and pull on the matter will end.

While the court had reinstated Prof Kiama, the CS is defending his position to demote him, signalling a fierce legal battle.

In 2017, Justice Onesmas Makau ruled that under the Universities Act the then education CS lacked the authority to sack Prof Josphat Mwatelah, who served as the VC Technical University of Mombasa.

As a result, the judge ordered the university council to pay Prof Mwatelah Sh28 million for terminating his contract on the directive of education CS Fred Matiang'i in 2016.

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