NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 19 – The Kenyatta University Council has directed Vice Chancellor Prof Olive Mugenda to stay in office even after Friday’s Labour Relations Court order.
The council argues that the Labour Relations Court only advised that Mugenda should proceed on six-month leave pending determination of a case which is seeking her ouster.
“The council has been advised by its advocates that this advice is not an order,” reads a statement by Chairman of the Council Prof Ratemo Michieka.
“The council directs the vice-chancellor to remain in office and continue with her normal duties.”
Judge Hellen Wasilwa had also restrained the University Council, its employees or agents from recruiting eligible candidates to fill Mugenda’s position following an advertisement in a local daily on December 2 inviting applications.
The University Council in a statement sent to newsrooms said they will meet to consider the next course of action while maintaining that Mugenda was in office legally.
“The council is at loss as to why the court advised that the vice-chancellor should proceed on leave while the issue of her being replaced by a caretaker committee is pending hearing and determination,” he said.
The council argues that the vice-chancellor’s availability is of great importance specifically now when the university is undertaking major projects that needs her guidance and attention.
Mugenda joined the university as a tutorial member in 1981 and rose through the ranks to become the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Finance and Planning and in 2006.
When the position of vice-chancellor at the university was advertised, she applied and won over three other applicants, and became the first Kenyan woman to hold the position in April 2006.
However, her re-appointment in March 2011 was controversial after the university senate failed to advertise the position for competitive recruitment forcing Wilfrida Itolongo, Muma Solomon, Elena Korir, Martha MIayandazi and Fred Obare to go to court to challenge her appointment.
Justice George Odunga however ruled that there was nothing wrong with the failure of former President Mwai Kibaki to gazette the appointment of Prof Mugenda and declared she was in office legally.