NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 22 – The Employment and Labour Relations Court Wednesday declined to stay an earlier order reinstating Prof Gitahi Kiama as the Vice Chancellor of the University of Nairobi.
Responding to the application made on Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha’s behalf, Lady Justice Maureen Onyango said she could not reverse a ruling she made on Monday in which a decision to appoint Prof Peter Mbeche as Acting Vice Chancellor was revoked pending an inter partes hearing slated for Friday, January 24.
“I do not want to cause more chaos and therefore ask you to come to court Friday for inter pates hearing” the judge ruled.
In an urgent application, CS Magoha through lawyer Evans Monari accused Prof Kiama of unlawfully purporting to make leadership changes at the University of Nairobi by appointing a Deputy Vice Chancellor and issuing memos.
This, Monari argued “is against the purview of the orders issued by the court on Monday.”
CS Magoha also wanted the court to allow Prof Mbeche to continue serving in an acting capacity.
The CS insisted orders issued on Monday did not reinstate Prof Kiama, pending the resolution of the matter.
Monari said only the University Council which has since been dissolved by CS Magoha and the Public Service Commission have statutory power to appoint a Vice Chancellor at the University of Nairobi.
Meanwhile, Prof Kiama Wednesday insisted he will continue to govern the university despite Prof Mbeche’s refusal to hand over the Vice Chancellor’s chambers to him.
Prof Kiama’s lawyer Fred Ngatia successfully challenged the legality of Prof Magoha’s decision to revoke his appointment by the University Council following an application lodged at the Labour and Employment court on Monday.
Ngatia argued that CS Magoha has no power to revoke Prof Kiama’s appointment having been selected by the board after a recruitment process conducted in accordance with the law.
“Under section 35(1)(a)(v) of the Universities Act the CS has no power in law to appoint or revoke the appointment of the VC,” Ngatia told the court.
Speaking following a reinstating order issued by the court, Ngatia welcomed the decision saying it would calm the volatile situation at the university created by CS Magoha’s decision to revoke his client’s appointment.
Prof Kiama was appointed Vice Chancellor through a letter dated January 3, 2020 for a period of five years.