Sacked dons lose reinstatement bid

July 26, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI July 25- Two lecturers who were sacked by Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) for participating in a strike on Friday lost a court battle to have them reinstated.

Dr Cecilia Mwathi and Moses Muchina lost the protracted battle against the JKUAT Vice Chancellorc(VC) Nick Wanjohi, in which they were demanding to be reinstated, after they alleged that they were arbitrarily sacked for taking part in a strike in October 2006.

The two had sued Wanjohi for terminating their employment after they, according to submissions by the University’s lawyer, Patrick Luta, spearheaded a strike, in their then respective positions as University Academic Staff Union officials (UASU).

The dons claimed Wanjohi acted irrationally and wrongly in sacking them, without hearing their side of the story, which they argued was against the rules of natural justice. (Rules of natural justice hold that a person should never be condemned, unheard)

Justice Joseph Nyamu discarded their plea saying the two failed to demonstrate to the court how the VC breached their contract.

They had in their defence argued that Wanjohi had no powers to sack them and in executing the decision of the University Council which authorised their sacking.

They, in that respect, sought a court order, prohibiting Wanjohi from terminating their employment as members of the university’s teaching staff.

“The Vice Chancellor acted improperly and in excess of his powers with improper motives,” they claimed.

Justice Nyamu did not however cease to fault the two dons saying they were time barred and inquired why they had not appealed in good time.

He pointed out that the University statutes did not at any point expressly provide the right of reinstatement on any persons caught in misconduct.

He stated that the very statutes also provided the aggrieved parties in a conflict with a right of appeal against a decision taken by the University council, which in this case was not utilised by the two dons, despite having been given a chance to do so.

“As at hearing, there are possibilities that their positions would have been taken over by other able people and removing them to accommodate the applicants would conflict public interest,” Justice Nyamu ruled.

He finally directed them to find a better forum to address their issues, proposing an industrial court, as opposed to Judicial Review, where they had sough redress.

The beleaguered lecturers were sacked in October 2006 after engaging in an illegal strike as referenced from the university’s statutes.

Meanwhile, 157 former employees of Kenya Breweries Limited Friday lost a bid to reclaim their terminal dues emanating from an early retirement imposed on them between 1994 and 2003.

The retirees, led by Lawrence Ndutu had challenged the brewer’s decision to send them on compulsory leave and allegedly paying them lesser dues.

They claimed that their constitutional rights had been violated and demanded audited statements   from their former employer detailing their dues.

High Court Judges Joseph Nyamu, Ruth Sitati and George Dulu dismissed their application saying it could be best handled by the civil division than the judicial review as applied.

The judges consequently directed that the file be transferred to the Chief Justice for allocation of a judge to hear it.

Meanwhile, the same court declined to suspend proceedings of a related suit before the civil division pending appeal against the ruling.


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