The University of Nairobi (UoN) vice-chancellor (VC), Prof Stephen Kiama, has received a directive from the university council to recommence his six-month leave, which he had abruptly shortened and returned to work.
On July 7, the council granted Kiama’s request for a six-month leave starting from August 1, 2023. Deputy VC Julius Ogeng’o was appointed as the acting VC in his absence.
However, Kiama cut short his leave and resumed his duties on September 1, announcing his return on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter) with the statement, “Well rested and rejuvenated.”
Despite having not completed 161 of his 180 days of leave, Kiama continued with his official duties amidst the ensuing confusion.
In a letter dated September 22, the council informed Kiama that he was still on leave and should refrain from carrying out his office duties starting September 25.
The council emphasized that their decision to grant him leave remained unchanged.
The council chairperson, Prof Amukowa Anangwe, criticized Kiama’s move to resume duty, stating that his actions were unprocedural, untenable, and unacceptable to the council.
On the day he resumed office, Kiama addressed the entire university community via a streamed event on YouTube, providing information about the reporting dates for the 2023-24 academic year.
The council reminded Kiama of a directive from Head of Public Service Felix Koskei on September 21, mandating all public service officers with accumulated leave to take their leave.
Koskei stressed that as of June 30, 2024, only 15 leave days would be carried forward, and no leave days would be compensated with money.
Kiama had initially applied for the six-month leave on July 18, 2023, citing his busy schedule since assuming office on January 20, 2020. He had requested to utilize all his leave days before his contract expired in 2025.
On August 7, the University of Nairobi Students Association protested Kiama’s leave and urged the council to recall him.
The students argued that the approval of his leave lacked sufficient information and was “wrong and untimely” given the university’s upcoming commitments.