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Campus Vibe
University dispute rages on as council locked out of meeting
By Augustine Oduor | Updated Aug 19, 2017 at 08:26 EAT
Timothy Kirui, Council chair
  • A petition has also been filed that seeks orders to restrain members from ‘requisitioning, convening, holding and or attending’ any Council meetings.
  • Divisions New team forced to have their planned special meeting on a makeshift space as proper venue was closed.

The stalemate over the constitution of the new University of Nairobi Council played out again yesterday with the new team barred from accessing a meeting room.

Council chairperson Timothy Kiruhi said they were forced to have their planned special meeting on a makeshift space.

“We were at the chambers from 7am but we could not be granted access as all staff, including those we had spoken with, were away from the office and not picking their calls. The VC was also not reachable,” said Kiruhi. He said the Council was able to find a lounge where it held a fruitful meeting.

“We are hopeful that the inhibitions which Council has experienced since appointment will soon be behind us,” said Kiruhi.

But pertinent questions emerged even as the Council met. The vice chancellor is the secretary to the council and therefore, Prof Peter Mbithi ought to have attended the meeting. And also, Prof Mbithi ought to have called the meeting.

Pertinent questions

Sources at the university defended the institution.

“The university has been closed for two weeks to allow for elections. It will open Monday next week,” said an insider.

Inquiries through the vice chancellor’s office were unfruitful. Texts and calls to the university corporate office were also not answered. Prof Mbithi was not available to respond to calls and texts.

The development comes as Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i gazzetted the new Council members on August 7, 2017. Dr Matiang’i gazzetted Kiruhi as the new Council chair.

Matiang’i also gazetted Meshack Kidenda, Victoria Otieno, Mahat Somane, Peter Maangi and Jane Wanjiru Michuki as Council members for three years.

The Saturday Standard also established that another court case was filed seeking interpretation of the law.

The petition seeks orders to restrain the members from ‘requisitioning, convening, holding and or attending’ any Council meetings of the university, including the Council meeting intended on August 18(yesterday) or any other date thereafter pending the hearing and determination of the suit.

The court papers, the petitioner –Thandayo Obanda–argues that the appointments were in contempt of a court order issued in March 3, 2017, stopping the implementation of the gazette notice that appointed the members.

But yesterday, the Council says it held a fruitful special meeting.

“Two of the Council members had sent apologies though they had been consulted about the Special Council meeting, which was meant to update the Council members on the status of the University and also how they can best support the VC and his team,” said Kiruhi.

The tussle over the formation of the new University of Nairobi Council has been long and winding with the State Law Office also wading into the matter.

It however emerged that a meeting between Matiang’i and Attorney General Githu Muigai agreed that the old Council complete its term before the new one assumed office. Sources said the process of appointment should have started afresh.

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