Chuka University staff union rejects county takeover of varsity land

Chuka UASU

Chuka University  Academic Staff Union Chairperson Dr Alice Lunani and Secretary Mr Thomas Motinda address the media at the university on March 15, 2023. 

Photo credit: Alex Njeru I Nation Media Group

Chuka University Academic Staff Union (Uasu) has opposed a move by Tharaka Nithi County Government to hive 100 acres off its 500-acres Kairini land for the establishment of an industrial aggregation and value addition park.

In a press conference at the university on Wednesday, the members, led by the chairperson, Dr Alice Lunani, and secretary Thomas Motindi, termed the move illegal and a threat to the university’s expansion and research.

They faulted Governor Muthomi Njuki for ‘lying’ to President William Ruto that the university had agreed to give out the land, even after the council declined the request from the county government.

During an interdenominational prayer and thanksgiving service attended by President Ruto last Sunday at Kirubia Stadium in Chuka/Igambang’ombe constituency, Mr Njuki told the Head of State that the university had given out the land for the proposed Sh200 million project, which is a collaboration of the national government and devolved governments.

The parks which are to be established in the 47 counties according will help in adding value to agricultural produce.

“The move by the county government to forcibly take 100 acres belonging to the university is illegal and threatens the expansion of the institution and research activities,” said Dr Lunani.

She said the land in Igambang’ombe, about 30 kilometres from the main campus in Chuka town, was donated by the community to the university and in 2017 the institution developed a master plan, which it is implementing.

She said the 500 acres are used for large-scale livestock keeping, bee farming and agronomic activities for banana, avocado and mango plantations, which bring the university a huge income.

15 million litre-capacity dam

Mr Motindi said the university has built a level four hospital on the land, which it intends to expand into a referral hospital. It has also built a 15-million-litre capacity dam for irrigation and established a wild sanctuary and conservancy for training, research and ecotourism.

He, however, pointed out that the university fraternity is not opposed to development because it has accommodated Ndagani primary and secondary schools and Kenya Medical Training College Chuka campus on its 50-acre main campus land.

“The union is aware that the university council has communicated to the relevant government authorities objecting to the proposal to transfer the 100 acres to county government,” said Mr Motindi.

He pointed out that the county has enough land for such development projects and insisted that the university fraternity would remain united in the effort to guard the land.

Efforts to get a comment from acting Vice-Chancellor Dorcas Isutsa were not successful. 


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