Kenyatta University has been ordered by a court to reinstate suspended Vice Chancellor Paul Wainaina. Wainaina left his position amid a tussle with the government over a plan to hive off part of the university’s land.
“This is probably the last time you’ll see me addressing you as VC,” he told staff on July 12. Barely two days earlier, President Uhuru Kenyatta had vowed to deal ‘swiftly and effectively’ with public officials he accused of mismanaging public land – statements that were perceived as an attack on Wainaina.
Wainaina asked the Employment and Labour Relations Court to bar the enforcement of orders by Head of Civil Service Joseph Kinyua. He maintained that removal of a vice-chancellor was a preserve of the university council. Kinyua had written to Wainaina asking him to surrender the title for Kenyatta University LR No. 1102/26 for the land to be hived off as directed by the Cabinet. Wainaina questioned the process. He was subsequently suspended and the university council replaced.
Wainaina also sought to have the court issue a conservatory order suspending the decision contained in a letter dated July 12 from new University Council chair Prof Crispus Kiamba suspending him and appointing Prof Waceke Wanjohi as acting vice-chancellor. Wainaina also asked the court to bar KU from advertising the position of Vice-Chancellor. He also wanted the court to bar a directive from Kiamba that revoked his salary and rendered the vice-chancellor’s position vacant.
“The Head of Public Service (Kinyua) continues to act in a manner that completely flouts the provisions of law on the rights of the applicant and continues to breach his rights to fair labour practices,” Wainaina’s lawyer Manwa Hosea told the court.
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“An injustice has been [meted] upon the applicant herein and this honourable court should remedy the said injustice by the Head of Public Service by urgently staying the impugned suspension,” he added.
The government intended to hive off the land to host, among other facilities, the World Health Organization (WHO) Emergency Hub intended to serve the region following the inking of a deal with WHO.
“The letter indicated that 30 acres will be given to WHO for a project, 10 acres to the Centre for Disease Control, 180 acres to KUTRRH (KU hospital) and another 190 acres will be used to settle Kamaye squatters,” Wainaina had disclosed.
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