Court orders Machogu to file response in VC's appointment case

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

The Labour and Industrial Relations Court has ordered the Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu to respond to a petitioner who has challenged him for allegedly hiring a "relative" to hold a brief for Kaimosi Friends University (Kafu).

Justice Jemimah Keli of Kakamega regretted that even after being served with the petition the CS had not filed a response.

"The case was filed under urgency and needs to be heard expeditiously. Let the first respondent (Machogu) and the (Kafu) Council file their response in readiness for mention on April 24 where further directions will be given," she said.

In a bid to halt what he deems an unfair appointment, activist Stephen Chahasi has sued Machogu and the Kafu Council in the Labour Court in Kakamega.

Chahasi argues that the appointment of Prof Peter Mwita as acting Kafu Vice Chancellor violates labour laws and the selection process was a product of tribal and political bias.

He contends that Machogu and Mwita hail from the same region, suggesting a potential for tribal favouritism.

“It is in public knowledge that Machogu and Mwita come from the same geographical area and there is a high possibility of tribal cards which should highly be discouraged and condemned,” he says in his pleadings.

The petitioner cites Mwita's performance in a recent interview for the VC position, where he ranked fifth among eight candidates.

Chahasi questions the wisdom of appointing Mwita instead of those who ranked top in the interview, terming the move a disregard for natural justice.

He argues that the acting VC's continued stay could exacerbate long standing turmoil within the university.

Allegations of disruptive actions and questionable competency in administration further fuel Chahasi's plea for Mwita's removal.

Citing potential repercussions beyond Kafu, Chahasi warns of setting a dangerous precedent by allowing Mwita's appointment to stand. He emphasizes the need for immediate intervention to restore stability for the benefit of students and staff.

Meanwhile, former acting Kafu VC Prof Jack Nandi has challenged Machogu's refusal to confirm him as the substantive VC despite prior approvals. 
Nandi emerged top in interviews for the position.

As legal battles unfold, the fate of Kafu's leadership hangs in the balance, amid allegations of political interference and administrative turmoil.

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