NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 20 – The University Academic Staff Union (UASU) is now calling for amendment of the Education Act to introduce vetting of Vice Chancellors in public universities.
Speaking after calling off the strike by lecturers and non-teaching staff on Thursday, UASU chairman Sammy Kubasu stated that this will ensure that any funds channelled to the institutions are not misappropriated.
“The government must endeavour to employ people with high integrity and one way of doing this is to subject Vice Chancellors to vetting just like other people who head State parastals. They must be vetted by Parliament. We would like to ask Parliament to repeal the Education Act 2012 so that it includes an aspect of vetting of Vice-Chancellors,” he said.
“This should happen so that we get people of high morals; people without impunity and of high integrity and who will head our institutions in a transparent manner.”
UASU Secretary General Muga K’Olale stated that any act of corruption in public institutions needs to be rejected.
“The unions have unreservedly condemned corruption and other malpractices in the universities. We believe that where we have reached, we have exposed the corruption in the universities as whistle blowers. That is our role. The next role lies within the jurisdiction of the Executive. It is up to them now to take whatever appropriate action they deem best to ensure that the universities are rid of practices of corruption, fraud, and so on,” he said.
He pointed out that following the announcement about the end of their strike, normalcy was slowly returning to the institutions of higher learning.
“Some universities are closed, others are understandably on half term but staff are back to the universities. Today what we have been doing in all the chapters is to brief our staff on the nature of the agreement that we struck last night. We believe that this afternoon, there will be normalcy in the universities and on Monday, there will be full-fledged resumption of duties at the universities,” he said.
On his part, the Kenya Universities Staff Union (KUSU) Secretary General Charles Mukhwaya emphasised the need for the universities management to respect and honor Collective Bargaining Agreements.
“This is a strike that ought not to have been had the universities management followed the agreement as given by the exchequer when they were receiving money. We ought not to have got into all this trouble. Moving forward, it will be important for us to avoid this kind of scenario in the future. The employers must stick and understand the terms of reference of any agreement that they enter with any other authority,” he stated.
“It is a very straight forward thing. You are given money and you are instructed that you must use it to do one, two, three things. Why do you use it to do something that you are not meant to? The fact that they took money that was meant to come to workers is impunity. In fact it is embezzlement. We would like that in future, they must get into agreements that they know they are going to fulfil,” he said.
He explained that the agreement reached on Thursday would ensure that other than the full payment of the owed dues, no one would be victimised for engaging in the strike.
“We had two agreements yesterday with the universities. One was to reach an agreement so as to remove the dispute that caused the strike in the first place and this was failure by the university management to implement fully the CBA agreement we had signed with them. We signed a deal yesterday that ensured that the Sh7.8 billion will be fully distributed to the last coin to the members of staff in our universities,” he said.
It was also agreed that the court case against them be withdrawn.