Months after being ousted as Vice-Chancellor of Kenyatta University, Prof. Paul Wainaina is set to have the last laugh, as he is set to return to the institution. Wainaina, who curries favor with the new administration led by President William Ruto and DP Rigathi Gachagua, was suspended following a public tussle with former President Uhuru Kenyatta and head of the civil service Joseph Kinyua over his refusal to surrender part of the public university’s land for the establishment of a World Health Organization (WHO) regional hub.
“We have individuals who are very ignorant and behave as if they have never entered a classroom… they don’t understand that Kenya has never operated in isolation. We shall deal with those individuals swiftly and very effectively,” a furious Kenyatta stated at the time, days before Wainaina was suspended for 30 days “pending investigations” into claims of misconduct. The university council was also replaced.
The process was however disrupted by multiple cases filed in court surrounding the saga, as well as the election won by Ruto. It has now emerged that Prof Wainaina is set to return after parties involved in the dispute that led to his suspension signed a consent to withdraw the cases currently in court.
Prof Waceke Wanjohi had taken over as the acting VC, while former University of Nairobi (UoN) VC Crispus Kiamba chaired the new council.
The land in question, however, looks set to be surrendered after a Nairobi court ruled against the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) who had challenged the move to hive off the land. The government allocated 12.4 hectares (30.64 acres) with a committed fund of $5 million (Ksh600 million) for the project.
In October, President Ruto appointed Wainaina to the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms. At the party’s induction, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua slammed the Kenyatta administration for their treatment of Wainaina.
“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,” Gachagua stated 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.
Standing by his words, Wainaina expressed confidence that the new administration would help resolve the matter, further claiming that figures linked to the previous administration were behind the myriad of court cases.
“This was a political situation and the new government understands that and they will ensure such does not happen again,” he said.