Kenya: Uasu Joins University of Nairobi Leadership Row

23 January 2020

The Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu) has joined the leadership row that has rocked the University of Nairobi.

The union on Thursday asked the High Court to quash an order that reinstated Prof Stephen Kiama as the institution's vice-chancellor.

The suit, filed on behalf of Uasu-UoN chapter officials by lawyer Titus Koceyo, was certified urgent by Justice Maureen Onyango.


Justice Onyango ordered the lawyer to serve Prof Kiama, Education CS George Magoha and the Attorney-General.

Others to be served are the Public Service Commission and Prof Isaac Mbeche, who was appointed by Prof Magoha as acting VC after cancelling the appointment of Prof Kiama.

Mr Koceyo said that Prof Kiama had usurped his authority and that of the university council when he purported to appoint and re-assign the deputy vice chancellors (DVCs). He said this is the function of the council.

On January 21, Prof Kiama appointed Prof Madara Ogot to act in Prof Mbeche's position (DVC Finance, Planning and Development). Prof Mbeche was on leave.

Further, Prof Julius Ogeng'o, the DVC Academic Affairs was appointed DVC Students Affairs in an acting capacity.

The judge heard that in a clear manifestation of abuse of the court order and usurpation of powers, Prof Kiama arbitrarily disbanded the Centre for International Programmes and Links without consulting the union.


In the court papers, Uasu says the centre was established by a university statute and its disbandment could not be unilaterally done by the Prof Kiama.

The judge heard the unions were fearing that due to the alleged misinterpretation of the court order, there was jeopardy in processing of their salaries.

Justice Onyango was urged to set aside the orders she issued on January 20, since Prof Kiama had "misinterpreted them as having been conferred as the bona fide and lawfully appointed Vice Chancellor of UoN yet the court order did not appoint him as the VC."

Mr Koceyo said Prof Kiama had embarked on an erratic and reckless issuance of circulars, memos, letters and press conferences which contradict and violate the known established university statutes and laws.

"There is general anxiety and feeling of disillusionment in the university as no predictability in the management of the institution is guaranteed," he said.

Uasu officials; Dr Richard Bosire (chairman), Mr George Omondi (secretary) and Mr Martin Odipo (trustee) say there is real danger that justice will not be served and their constitutional and labour rights will be made subject to the petitioner who is not validly in office.


The officials say, they learnt with dismay and shock the petitioner (Prof Kiama) has laid claim to the leadership of the university with full knowledge that his appointment is still contested and subject to litigation and is highly disputed.

"There is urgent need to stay the orders of January 20, 2020 which the petitioner is misinterpreting and abusing without regard to the interest of the academic staff union," the officials state in evidence to the court.

The officials Dr Richard Bosire (chairman),George Omondi (secretary) and Martin Odipo (trustee) say there is real danger that justice will not be served and their constitutional and labour rights will be made subject to the petitioner who is not validly in office.

The officials say Prof Kiama has been making mundane statements relating to office keys in public domain eroding and degrading the high office of the university chancellor.

Prof Kiama filed a case challenging the decision by the Education CS to revoke his appointment by PSC as the UoN VC. The decision of the CS was stayed pending hearing and determination of the case.

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