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Professor sues Kenyatta University over suspension

BUSINESS
By | August 30th 2011

By Judy Ogutu

Suspended Kenyatta University (KU) Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Finance, Planning and Development has sued the institution challenging a move to terminate his tenure.

Prof Daniel Mugendi has named KU, its Vice Chancellor Prof Olive Mugenda, Benson Wairegi and Eliud Mathiu as respondents.

Mugendi wants the High Court to issue a permanent injunction restraining the four respondents from interfering with, violating or terminating his tenure as the DVC.

"The orders by the respondents in suspending the petitioner and all other proceedings, thereafter, be recalled and quashed by issuance of Judicial Review Orders," he says through his advocate, Mr Donald Kipkorir.

Mugendi is also seeking a declaration that the compulsory leave notice dated August 10, 2011 and subsequent notices from the respondents void.

The court, he says, should also issue a declaration that his rights have been violated.

Employment contract

He says he was appointed in acting capacity on May 24, 2006 as DVC and confirmed on August 3, 2007 and his contract was to run for five years.

The petitioner argues that pursuant to the said employment, he is to be in office until August 7, 2012 and is eligible for re-appointment.

His gross earnings as at July 2011, it is indicated in the suit papers, was Sh576,225 in addition to other allowances that arise from his office and as a leading researcher in agro-forestry, soil productivity and ecology of agronomic crops. He argues that in breach of the said employment contract, Wairegi through a letter dated August 10, 2011 sent him on compulsory leave and further barred him from undertaking his administrative and academic responsibilities. He was also stopped from accessing the university’s premises and facilities.

According to him, the decision is a violation of his rights since the adverse action against him was "actuated at the instance of the fourth respondent (Prof Mugenda) who has had disagreements with the petitioner since 2008."

Insubordination

"The only motivation for the adverse action against the petitioner was standing up to the fourth respondent’s capricious, high-handed and dictatorial style of leadership and her imprudent financial policies and expenditure," he says in the documents filed in court.

The suspension, he contends, is a violation of his rights to due process, fair administrative action, access to justice, fair hearing and additional rights to family and labour rights.

Mugendi was sent on compulsory leave and barred from entering the institution mid this month. An internal memo indicated he was sent packing for "gross misconduct and insubordination".

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