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Suspended University of Eldoret staff move to court

RIFT VALLEY
By Michael Ollinga | July 21st 2015

Suspended management staff members of the University of Eldoret (UoE) have moved to court to challenge the suspension.

The nine affected officers filed a joint suit at the Nakuru Industrial Court yesterday seeking their reinstatement with claims that the university council had flouted labour provisions in sending them home.

"The council should have first given us a verbal warning, written to us to show cause, summoned us to appear before it, launched investigations before suspending us but none of these was done," said one of the petitioners who spoke to The Standard on condition of anonymity.

On Friday last week, the university's council suspended nine of its staff members, five of who are in the top management level.

The institution has recently seen a wave of unrests that have subsequently paralysed learning.

Two weeks on, UoE remains closed after students went on a rampage destroying premises and other structures in a protest over alleged fees increment by the management.

In a memo dated July 17 and copied to the vice chancellor and the university council's chairman, the nine were suspended to pave way for investigations on allegations that they had abetted the recent unrest at the institution.

"Following information reaching the University Council and the management of your involvement in the recent unrest at the university, the council in its 15th meeting of July 17, resolved to suspend you from duty with immediate effect, pending investigations..." reads part of the memo.

Proposed successors

The council further directed the nine to hand over their offices to their respective proposed successors who will serve in acting capacity awaiting the results of the investigations.

Those who signed having received the suspension letters include Prof Jacob Bitok, Hosea Sitienei, Wilson Koros, Edward Cherogony, Dr Joseph Koech, Dr Mary Lopokoyit, Dr Godfrey Kiptoo, Prof Ezekiel Kiprop and Mr Samuel Seurei.

Prof Kiprop is the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academics and Finance, Mr Sitienei is the Finance Officer, Dr Lopokoyit is the Registrar, Planning, Dr Koech Registrar, Administration while Mr Seurei is the head of casual workers.

Vice Chancellor Teresa Akenga is currently battling another suit at High Court in Eldoret where a resident of Uasin Gishu County sought legal redress on her integrity in the running of the institution.

Kiprotich Cherargei, the petitioner, wants Prof Akenga, who is the first respondent, and the University Council of UoE to be ousted from the institution's management on claims that they have contravened Chapter Six of the Constitution.

Justice George Kimondo rescheduled the hearing of the matter to July 29 2015.

The University has been in the middle a management row that has led to demonstrations by local leaders, community members and the students over a myriad of issues ranging from misappropriation of funds, discrimination of staff and students and fees increment.

In February, Uasin Gishu Senator Isaac Melly led the locals in a demonstration to oust the vice chancellor over allegations of abuse of office.

The demonstration sparked a row with the Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi who accused the legislator of pursuing tribal interests.

Prof Akenga has reiterated that the chaos at the institution have been ignited by outside interference, accusing a section of individuals of seeking self-interests through contradicting the university management.

Students who had three weeks to sit for their end of semester exams are in a state of confusion with the institution's premises under close watch by government security agencies.

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