Kenya: Protesting Egerton Lecturers Seal Off VC Mwonya's Office

3 December 2020

There was drama at Egerton University Njoro Campus on Thursday after angry lecturers stormed the embattled Vice-Chancellor Prof Rose Mwonya's office and sealed it off using planks of wood.

Armed with hammers, nails and pieces of wood, the lecturers sealed off Prof Mwonya's office and vowed to bar her from accessing her office.

The chanting lecturers turned the VC's secretary's office into a dancing hall as they shouted "Mwonya must go! Mwonya must go! Mwonya must go!"

The lecturers vowed to continue with their campaign to oust Prof Mwonya.

"We shall use all the avenues available to ensure the lecturers get their constitutional right including a new VC in office," said Fredrick Mwangangi, Uasu Egerton chapter chairperson.

All activities at the university's administration block came to a standstill on Wednesday.

However, as the situation got out of hand, anti-riot police arrived and dispersed the lecturers who later retreated to the graduation square.

"We shall not allow Prof Mwonya to access the office, we have had enough of her bad leadership," one of the lecturers shouted.

"Prof Mwonya is the first ever VC at Egerton University history who has called police to disperse a legitimate action by lecturers," said another don.

Interestingly, even as the lecturers closed her office, Prof Mwonya, who was reinstated by the Employment and Labour Relations Court, maintained she was still the VC.

Embattled VC

"I wish to inform staff, students and members of the public that I am still the substantive Vice-Chancellor of Egerton University until further notice," said Prof Mwonya in a notice to staff and students on Wednesday.

"This notice overrides the earlier one dated November 20 on the appointment of acting Vice-Chancellor. The Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu), which is spearheading this campaign to oust me, should know they are not bigger than the law," she added.

The lecturers, however, dismissed Prof Mwonya's notice claiming that it was fake.

"The embattled VC is trying by all means to return to the office. The letter has many typographical errors. It is dated December 2, 20020, for instance, and it has no official stamp like the previous communication from her office. This is a fake document and we shall not accept it," one lecturer said.

Prof Isaac Kibwage was appointed as acting VC on November 20, 2020 by the University Council.

He has already signed a return-to-work formula with the striking lecturers and promised to start clearing their arrears this month.

The university slashed the lecturers' salaries by 40 per cent.

Prof Mwonya has attained the mandatory retirement age of 70 years and her term as VC is expected to end on January 12, 2021.

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