UoN dons demand clarity on leadership after Stephen Kiama return

 Prof Stephen Gitahi Kiama

University of Nairobi (UoN) Vice-Chancellor Prof Stephen Gitahi Kiama when he appeared before the Public Investments Committee on Governance and Education on May 3, 2023.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The unexpected return from leave of University of Nairobi vice-chancellor Professor Stephen Kiama continues to cause confusion in the institution, with a section of the teaching staff yesterday demanding clarity on the leadership.

Former chapter secretary George Omondi said the silence by the council on the matter has left the entire teaching fraternity at a loss as they do not know whether to follow instructions from Prof Kiama or Prof Julius Ogeng’o, who was appointed to act as VC.

Council chairperson Amukowa Anangwe has not publicly spoken about the issue. A special meeting of the council that was scheduled for Saturday morning to discuss leadership at the university aborted.

In his statement, Mr Omondi said the council, had not rescinded its earlier instructions.

“As we know, it is the council that can provide leadership to the substantive vice-chancellor and to all other parties who are staff members in this institution. We expect that the council comes out strongly and states what position exists in respect to the current goings on in the university,” he said.

Julius Ogeng'o

Julius Ogeng'o, the then UoN Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs, speaks at the Skill Up Africa Expo and Conference at the University of Nairobi Main Campus on July 15, 2023. He has been appointed UoN acting Vice Chancellor.

Photo credit: Wilfred Nyangaresi | Nation Media Group

The lecturers said that clarification would benefit the public ahead of the 69th graduation ceremony that is scheduled for September 22.

It was also alleged that some members of the teaching staff have been harassed for following the instructions of office-bearers.

“We expect immediate action so that order is brought back to the institution. We see a gap and that gap needs to be sorted out quickly,” they said.

If the standoff continues, the staff asked President William Ruto to step in and restore order.

Prof Kiama returned to work on Friday last week, after just one month of his six-month leave, which began on August 1.