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Reprieve for Prof Wainaina as court stops his suspension

KU Vice-Chancellor Paul Wainaina after addressing KU staff members following his sacking on July 12 2022. [Esther Jeruto, Standard]

The Employment and Labour relations court has stopped the suspension of Kenyatta University Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Kuria Wainaina.

The order was issued by Employment and Labour relations judge Jacob Gakeri.

"That pending the hearing and determination of this application inter-partes, the Honorable court be pleased to issue a temporary order suspending the implementation of a letter written by Professor Crispus Kiamba on July 12, 2022, suspending, terminating and/or dismissing Wainaina from the office of the Vice-Chancellor or from rendering his position vacant and/or revoking his salary," reads the court documents in part.

The court order in place is pending the hearing and determination of the petition filed by Wainaina’s advocate Manwa Hosea.

In court papers, the matter is set to be placed under a judge before July 28, 2022.

The letter came after Wainaina, together with the entire Kenyatta University Council, was suspended and a new council chaired by Kiamba instituted.

Education Permanent Secretary Simon Nabukwesi would later announce that the institution’s Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Waceke Wanjohi would be the Acting VC for 30 days.

Nabukwesi, when addressing the media, said Wainana may get back his job after 30 days.

“If investigations find that he has no questions to answer, he will take back his job,” he said.

Before the suspension letter was issued confirming his suspension, Wainaina called a meeting with students at the institution.

He told students that his ouster from office was as result of opposing attempts by the government to take over part of the university’s land.

“This is the last time am talking to you as your VC. I understand a new council is being formed and the installation of a VC is being planned. This has happened because we refused to cede university land to the government,” he said at the time.

The land saga comes from a July 7, 2022 letter issued by Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua, in which he asked Wainaina and the then council to surrender the title deed of Kenyatta University land to facilitate the acquisition.

Kinyua asked the Vice Chancellor to submit a letter of authority from the institution as holders of the title to enable the Ministry of Lands carry out physical planning of the troubled land.

While responding to Kinyua, the institution’s council said it lacked powers to give part of the land without following the procedure.

The management was to cede 30 acres to the World Health Organisation Centre, 10 acres to the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, 180 acres to the Kenyatta University Teaching Referral and Research Hospital and 190 acres for resettlement of Kamae squatters.

Wainaina says the battle started on July 4 when personnel from the National Youth Service (NYS) brought down the university’s fence and started developing the land.

“They stormed into our premises through the Northern bypass and destroyed the perimeter wall after overpowering our security guards,” he said at the time.

“They did not talk to anyone. They started clearing the land using bulldozers. So far we have not received any information regarding what is happening.”