Midnight deal ends UoN leadership row, Magoha backs down

A Tuesday night deal settled a court dispute pitting University of Nairobi (UoN) Vice Chancellor Stephen Kiama against Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha.

The two professors were to appear before court yesterday for a duel on whether Prof Kiama (pictured) was legally appointed by the university council.

However, reports indicate that talks which went late into the night led to a final decision by Prof Magoha to withdraw a letter in which he had revoked Kiama’s appointment.

Kiama’s lawyer Fred Ngatia, informed Labour Court Judge Maureen Onyango that the case ought to be marked as settled as both parties had agreed to end the leadership battle which had rocked Kenya’s top university for months.

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“A compromise has been recorded between the petitioner (Kiama) and the second respondent (Magoha). The CS has agreed to withdraw and revoke the letter dated January 17, 2020 in which he sought to revoke the appointment of the petitioner,” Ngatia told the judge.

“With the revocation, the petitioner’s complaints are fully resolved. He will continue with his employment,” he said.

Magoha had asked the judge to give him at least 60 days to have the matter settled out of court. However, Kiama insisted there was no other solution to the standoff other than the CS recalling his letter.

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Yesterday, Ngatia told the court that both parties had agreed to shoulder their part of the cost of the case.

However, UoN through lawyer Ahmednassir Abdullahi urged the court to order that the CS pays the entire cost of the case.

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Ahmednassir told the court that the University Council was not aware of the agreement between Magoha and Kiama but would not challenge it.

“We are not aware of the consent. This was an unnecessary action by the minster. We have no problem with the same being marked as settled. However, the cost should be paid by the person who instigated the cases,” argued Ahmednassir. 

During the hearing, it emerged that Kiama topped the list of candidates shortlisted for VC during the interviews.

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UoNStephen KiamaGeorge Magoha