Magoha’s Appointee Sent on Leave as Professors' Derby Unfolds

  • The drama in the University of Nairobi vice-chancellor's appointment continued to unfold on Tuesday, January 21, following fresh appointments by embattled VC, Professor Stephen Gitahi Kiama.

    This came only a day after the Employment and Labour Relations Court suspended the CS's decision to revoke the appointment of Professor Stephen Gitahi Kiama in which he had cited a lack of consultation with the ministry as well as President Uhuru Kenyatta's reservations

    In a statement signed by the vice-chancellor and seen by Kenyans.co.ke, Professor Isaac Mbeche, who is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Finance, Planning and Development, requested that he be allowed to proceed on annual leave, a curious decision given that Mbeche had been appointed by CS Magoha as VC in an acting capacity.

    The vice chancellor’s notice also indicated that in his absence, professor Madara Ogot would take over the roles of Mbeche.

    A photo of University of Nairobi Vice Chancellor Stephen Kiama

    “Following the request by Professor Isaac Meroka Mbeche, the deputy vice chancellor (FDP), to proceed on annual leave with effect from January, 6, 2020, and the same having been granted, Professor Madara Ogot, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (RIE) was appointed to act in this position for the period professor Mbeche will be on leave.

    “Further professor Alexander Ogengo has been appointed in acting capacity as the new Deputy Vice Chancellor (SA) to allow for substantive filling of the position,” read part of the notice.

    The vice-chancellor further thanked the university stakeholders for calmness from the students indicating that normal university business continued as usual.

    On Saturday, January 18, Magoha revoked the appointment of Professor Stephen Gitahi Kiama as the university vice-chancellor in addition to revoking the entire UoN Council led by Dr Julia Ojiambo.

    The cabinet Secretary made the changes through a special Kenya Gazette CCXII-No. 10 on Friday, January 17.

    "In addition to revoking the entire council with immediate effect, Magoha revoked the appointment of Prof. Stephen Gitahi Kiama as the vice chancellor of the University of Nairobi until the ongoing consultative process of appointing a substantive vice chancellor is completed.

    “Prof. Kiama will continue dispensing his duties as deputy vice chancellor in charge of human resource and administration at the university,” read the notice.

    A past photo of University of Nairobi deputy vice chancellor Isaac Mbeche

    However, Professor Kiama vowed not to relinquish his vice chancellor position, going to the extent of purchasing ad space on local dailies to assert his authority at the helm of the institution. 

    Kiama argued that his appointment was procedural and therefore Magoha had no grounds to repeal. He would later move to court to suspend Magoha's revocation.