UASU Chapter Secretary Maloba Wekesa while addressing the media about the wrangles in the University of Nairobi on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. [Samson Wire, Standard]

The Universities Academic Staff Union (UASU) is calling for an end to the ongoing leadership disputes at the University of Nairobi.

The union has demanded the immediate commencement of Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) negotiations and the resumption of internal promotions to restore order and integrity within the institution.

In a press statement, on Tuesday, May 28, UASU’s Chapter Secretary, Maloba Wekesa, expressed the union’s concerns over the negative impact of the leadership wrangles on the university’s reputation and operations.

He stressed the need for the university’s administration to prioritise the welfare of its members and to uphold the rule of law and the university’s traditions.

“Amid these disputes, it is the welfare of our members that must be prioritised in the university’s decision-making processes. This includes the negotiation and conclusion of the overdue internal CBA for 2017/21 and the resumption of internal promotion interviews. We stand for the respect of the rule of law, the sanctity of our long-established traditions and ethos, and the recognition that our efforts are not solely for Kenya but for the future of our beloved country. The university deserves to fulfill its role as a research and teaching institution in peace,” Wekesa said.

His remarks come amidst conflict between the University of Nairobi Council and Vice-Chancellor Prof. Stephen Kiama, with the Council advocating for his removal.

Earlier, the Council directed Prof. Kiama to take leave and appointed Professor Ayub Njoroge Gitau as the Acting Vice Chancellor, granting him full authority to execute the responsibilities of the position.

At the same time, it annulled all staff transfers and movements that were made in response to a court case and contrary to its resolutions, ordering the affected staff to revert to their previous roles without delay.

However, Prof. Kiama contested the legitimacy of the Council’s directives, claiming that they were not officially ratified and that they represent individual opinions rather than collective decisions of the Council.

According to the Union, the conflicts between the two parties not only disrupt academic activities but damage the reputation of one of the region’s most esteemed institutions.

UASU has called for immediate action to address the situation and to maintain the university’s operational integrity.