What you need to know:
- Prof Paul Wainaina made a triumphant return to the helm of Kenyatta University and vowed not to surrender any part of the institution’s land.
- On his reinstatement as vice-chancellor, Prof Wainaina said he would fight to regain control of Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital (KUTRRH).
- In days of drama that preceded the VC’s return, three members of the university council, including the chair, Prof Crispus Kiamba, resigned on Wednesday.
Prof Paul Wainaina made a triumphant return to the helm of Kenyatta University and vowed not to surrender any part of the institution’s land.
On his reinstatement as vice-chancellor, Prof Wainaina said he would fight to regain control of Kenyatta University Teaching Referral and Research Hospital (KUTRRH).
In days of drama that preceded the VC’s return, three members of the university council, including the chair, Prof Crispus Kiamba, resigned on Wednesday.
Other council members who resigned are Ms Jane Wamoko and Mr Carilus Odero Odumbe.
The Nation understands that former members of the council who had exited with Prof Wainaina are set to be reappointed to the management of the university. These include former chairperson Shem Migot Adhola, Eric Kindom Sila and Mary Mugo.
Prof Wainaina was ousted from the position nearly four months ago and replaced by Prof Waceke Wanjohi in an acting capacity.
Prof Waceke now returns to her former position as deputy vice-chancellor (academic affairs).
The parties to the KU dispute signed a consent to withdraw the suits and countersuits that followed Prof Wainaina’s suspension.
The deal was brokered by the office of the Attorney-General as well as Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu.
Prof Kiamba’s team facilitated the suspension of Prof Wainaina during their first meeting, on the same day their appointment was confirmed by former President Uhuru Kenyatta through a special issue of the Kenya Gazette.
Prof Wainaina was suspended on July 12 following a tiff between him and the university council on one hand and State House on the other.
The tiff was touched off by plans to sub-divide the university’s land to enable the KUTRRH to set up a World Health Organization logistics hub, the African Centre for Disease Control (ACDC) and Prevention, as well as to settle Kamae squatters.
Excision of the land stalled after a court injunction was issued prohibiting it amid reports that the new council could not locate the original title deed.
Prof Wainaina exuded confidence that the land dispute would be resolved amicably and hinted that the university might get back KUTRRH, which was established by the university but later turned into a parastatal through a presidential executive order.
The land on which the university sits is registered as LR11026/2 and measures over 1,000 acres. According to a Cabinet decision made in May, KUTRRH was to get 180 acres, a WHO logistics hub of 30 acres, the African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention 10 acres and Kamae squatters 190 acres.
WHO plans to set up a Sh600 million emergency hub for its regional operations.
“The land is KU land. We’ll work with the government, with the Ministry of Lands to see that justice is done. It’s very painful. We worked for the hospital (KUTRRH). When it was finished, it was taken away from us and we feel terrible when our students aren’t able to use the kind of facilities that are there,” said Prof Wainaina.
His comeback marks yet another reversal of decisions made by the former Head of State by President William Ruto, who last month appointed Prof Wainaina to the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms. The team has been collecting views from the public.
Yesterday, the VC said the university was not opposed to allowing WHO and ACDC use of the land but rather the subdivision and issuance of new title deeds to the organisations. He cited the Confucius Institute, UN Women and USAID as other organisations hosted at the university but which do not own the land.
“If they needed land, there’s a process. The process wasn’t followed. We felt 30 acres for such an institution was too much land. They’re serving the nation. We can’t refuse to give them space. The issue of having a title is what we felt was not right,” said Prof Wainaina.