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KU Land: Court Allows Takeover as Ruto Cozies Up to Wainaina

The Court of Appeal has paved the way for KU to surrender the land

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It was one of the final sagas in the last days of former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration. The move by the government to hand part of Kenyatta University’s land to the World Health Organization (WHO) to set up an emergency hub for the region ended up costing Vice-Chancellor Paul Wainaina his job, and would be the subject of legal battles.

The government allocated 12.4 hectares (30.64 acres) with a committed fund of $5 million (Ksh600 million) for the project.

Among those who opposed Wainaina’s ouster and the move to hive off the land was the Law Society of Kenya (LSK), who in July 2022 sought to have the government barred from subdividing, annexing or alienating the 490 acres in question.

The Court of Appeal has, however, now paved the way for KU to surrender the land to the government after finding that the LSK failed to show that the loss of property could not be adequately remedied by an award of damages.

“We find that the applicant has failed to satisfy the second limb of the twin principle in accord with the requirements under Rule 5(2) (b) of the Court of Appeal rules and, accordingly, its motion fails,” the ruling reads in part.

The drama began after the Head of the Public Service Joseph Kinyua wrote to the KU Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Paul Wainaina directing him to hand over a title deed to the land. The university led by Wainaina questioned the lack of consultation.

At a groundbreaking ceremony for the hub on July 10th, former President Uhuru Kenyatta hit out at public officials over land management in what was widely seen as taking on Wainaina over the stalemate.

Days later, Wainaina announced that he would be leaving the position, under pressure on multiple fronts. He was eventually replaced by acting VC Waceke Wanjohi.

The new administration led by President William Ruto has hammered the previous administration for its treatment of Wainaina. Wainaina was appointed by the State to the working party on education reform, and the former VC remains confident that he may yet find his way back to KU.

“Never will we go to an institution and dress down a teacher or a lecturer in front of students like what happened to Prof Wainaina,” DP Rigathi Gachagua stated at the induction of the working party on October 15.

“Lecturers and teachers must be given their dignity and respect. Where there are issues, we shall call them in the privacy of our offices and discuss the issue,” he stated.

Wainaina maintained that he stood by his position on the land issue. He claimed that figures from the former administration were keen on frustrating the court case.

“This was a political situation and the new government understands that and they will ensure such does not happen again,” he said.

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MARTIN SIELEhttps://loud.co.ke/
Martin K.N Siele is the Content Lead at Business Today. He is also a Quartz contributor and a 2021 Baraza Media Lab-Fringe Graph Data Storytelling Fellow. Passionate about digital media, sports and entertainment, Siele also founded Loud.co.ke
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