Kenya: Court Orders Prof Kiama Not to Interfere With UON Affairs

24 January 2020

A court on Friday directed Prof Stephen Gitahi Kiama, whose appointment as the University of Nairobi Vice-Chancellor was revoked, not to interfere with its management and operations.

Justice Maureen Onyango, of the Employment and Labour Relations Court, issued the order noting that issues raised by parties in the case must be canvassed before a decision on the legality of Prof Kiama's appointment is made.

Prof Kiama's appointment took effect on January 6 but Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha revoked it days later, saying the institution's council failed to allow a government consultation process that includes informing the President.

Prof Magoha appointed Prof Isaac Meroka Mbeche the acting VC but that marked the beginning of a leadership dispute that has seen both the CS and Prof Kiama file cases in court.

COURT CASES

Prof Kiama filed a case challenging the CS's decision to revoke his appointment by the Public Service Commission (PSC).

Through lawyer Fred Ngatia, he sought to have his appointment as VC recognised by all parties in the university.

Following his suit, the court stayed Prof Magoha's decision pending the hearing and determination of the case.

After this order was issued, however, the minister filed a case, asking the court to set it aside in order for Prof Mbeche to run the university.

In court Friday, Justice Onyango asked Prof Kiama to keep off until CS Magoha's case is heard on Thursday.

OTHER MATTERS

Justice Onyango issued the order after lawyer Evans Monari, for the Minister and Attorney-General, asked the court to clarify the January 20 order that suspended CS Mahoga's decision to nominate Prof Mbeche as acting VC.

Last week, the judge suspended implementation of the letter appointing Prof Mbeche, saying the PSC legally appointed Prof Kiama to head the university.

Lawyers Ngatia and Ahmednasir Abdullahi, who is representing the university, have opposed Mr Monari's representation of the CS and Attorney-General, arguing that he has not been legally appointed to represent the government in the leadership dispute.

Meanwhile, the Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu), through lawyer Titus Koceyo, has asked the court to set aside the order recognising Prof Kiama as the institution's VC.

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