Kenya: Court Allows JKUAT DVC Moirongo to Return Work

A judge has directed Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology (JKUAT) Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof Bernard Otoki Moirongo to resume his duties, pending the determination of a case in court.

Justice Stephen Radido also prohibited JKUAT Vice Chancellor Prof Victoria Wambui Ngumi or anyone working under her authority from denying Prof Moirongo access to his office.

The Employment and Labour Relations court judge also said the university should not advertise the position of the DVC Finance pending the determination of the case.

In the matter, activist Okiya Omtatah filed the case arguing that Prof Ngumi had denied Prof Moirongo access to his office, yet the University Council had reappointed him for a second term of five years.

The activist accused Prof Ngumi of insubordination of the Council and for violating clear provisions of law on the procedure for reappointment of public officials by blocking Prof Moirongo's reappointment.

He said he is alarmed that the wrangles have intensified in the recent past and split into the media, and now threatens to degenerate to the levels we saw with similar disputes at the University of Nairobi.

The Council, he said, had June 30 appointed Prof Moirongo to act in the office of the DVC Finance as his reappointment to his second and final five year term is finalised.

He allegedly accepted the appointment in an acceptance letter on July 1. But since then, Prof Ngumi denied him access to the office.

Prof Moirongo was competitively recruited and appointed the DVC Finance in 2014, a term which lapsed on July 17, 2019. He then wrote to the Council seeking reappointment.

He was evaluated and scored 67.7 percent and was eligible for reappointment a decision that was endorsed by the Council in a meeting held online on May 21, 2020.

"In reaction to this acting appointment, the Respondent used the university's security mechanism to block Prof Moirongo from accessing and acting in the Office of the DVC (F)," Mr Omtatah said.

The court directed the matter to be mentioned on September 28.

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