Prof Stephen Kiama
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Inside roaring conflict pitting VC Kiama against UoN council

University of Nairobi Vice-Chancellor Prof Stephen Gitahi Kiama.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The leadership tussle at the University of Nairobi has escalated further after the vice chancellor, Prof Stephen Kiama, defied an earlier communication by the university council that he would proceed on leave.

The council, chaired by Prof Amukowa Anangwe, had in a communication to the university community indicated that the VC should go on leave and Prof Ayub Njoroge, the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, should take over as VC.

The appointment sidestepped the university's deputy vice-chancellors.

“I’m not on leave. I’m working as expected. We have an audit by the Commission for University Education going on and our chancellor is also visiting soon, so we are busy,” Prof Kiama told Nation.

“It’d be an abdication of duty on my part to go and sleep. I have a responsibility to Kenyans,” he added.

The Nation understands that the leadership of the Ministry of Education met with the warring parties.

Other senior government officials have also called for a quick resolution to the matter.

Issued two circulars

The VC had earlier issued two circulars to the university community, the first in the morning asking students and staff to disregard a communication from the Director of Corporate Communications, John Orindi, on Friday last week announcing that the VC had gone on leave.

“This matter has elicited a lot of publicity and has (the) potential to lead to apprehension to both members of staff and students. I call upon all members of staff and students to ignore the communication,” reads the circular.

In the second circular, Prof Kiama informed staff and students that the university would abide by a court ruling that quashed an advertisement for 24 senior positions at the university because they were not provided for in the university's constitution.

The ruling came in a case brought by Julius Mutemi, who wanted to stop the university from filling the posts. 

His lawyers have since written to Prof Kiama demanding full implementation of the ruling or they will go to court and cite him for contempt.

“The legal advisory is that since the said positions are irregular, there should not be any appointment of any form until or unless they are regularised as guided by the judgment,” the circular reads.