The Vice Chancellor(VC) of the University of Nairobi (UoN), Professor Stephen Kiama, returned to his office on Friday, Indefinitely ending a six-month sabbatical that the University Council had announced in August.
Professor Kiama’s unexpected return took place shortly after the teaching staff of UoN demanded his immediate reinstatement, which followed his mysterious departure on August 1.
Sources have confirmed that he resumed his duties just days after attending the inauguration of the Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies at UoN.
Later, Professor Kiama’s office officially confirmed his return through a tweet.
During Professor Kiama’s absence, Professor Julius Ogeng’o, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Academic Affairs, was appointed to serve in an acting capacity as DVC Academic Affairs.
Professor Kiama’s surprise leave, which began in early August 2023, triggered significant controversy within the university. Both the students’ union and some lecturers raised concerns about the decision.
The University of Nairobi Students Association (UNSA) protested the University Council’s move to send the Vice-Chancellor on leave.
In a statement, UNSA President Monica Malith expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of sufficient information provided to the students and their leaders regarding the leave and called for the Council to recall the VC.
“The University is readying itself for two graduation ceremonies, resumption from recess, admission of the first year class of 2023, and the implementation of the New Universities Funding Model, and hence the leave the VC took was untimely,” stated Malith