The University of Nairobi (UoN) is currently grappling with a leadership predicament as Acting Vice Chancellor(VC) Julius Ogeng’o has declined to step down from his role, despite the return of Professor Stephen Kiama, who had cut short his six-month leave.
Professor Kiama resumed his duties as Vice Chancellor on Monday, September 4, expecting Ogeng’o to vacate his position, but the Acting VC purportedly refused to do so.
The University Academic Staff Union (UASU) suggests that Professor Ogeng’o may have received instructions from the University of Nairobi’s Council, adding to the confusion.
The labor union is increasingly concerned about the ongoing leadership disputes, which they argue could negatively impact the students of the largest institution in the country.
Benjamin Omondi, former UASU Secretary General and UoN Staff, emphasized the importance of communication from the Governing Council regarding any leadership changes at the University of Nairobi. He stressed that the council’s decisions are final and that Professor Ogeng’o seemed to be following orders from this governing body.
Omondi also pointed out that the University of Nairobi’s Governing Council, which is officially recognized, holds the authority to provide checks and balances to lower-level offices. Therefore, it is expected that no one should disregard the council’s decisions amidst the ongoing leadership disputes.
The workers’ union cautioned against any activities that might disrupt the planning and execution of educational programs within the institution, emphasizing the need to ensure that students’ learning routines remain unaffected.
The university’s UASU chapter had sued the council for the change of guard.
“Prof Kiama ascended to the office through the courts. Remember he was not Prof George Magoha’s (then Education Cabinet Secretary) choice. He has had issues with three councils now. What is it about him that he cannot work with people? It is a problem with him and not with the council.”