UoN VC Prof. Kiama back to office after public pressure

The University of Nairobi (UoN) Vice-Chancellor Prof. Stephen Kiama

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The University of Nairobi (UoN) Vice-Chancellor Prof. Stephen Kiama has resumed his duties at the institution after cutting short his six-month sabbatical leave which was announced by the University Council in August.

The VC who had sort some time off as a result of leadership wrangles saw his leave cut short after the institution staff demanded his immediate reinstatement shortly after he attended the inauguration of UoN’s Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies aimed at honouring the late Nobel prize winner Professor Wangari Maathai.

The University of Nairobi, Chapter of the Universities’ Academic Staff Union (UASU) had protested Prof Kiama’s continued absence saying it risked plunging the institution, which has enjoyed stability since his assumption as Vice-Chancellor in January 2020, into chaos.

“During his short stint, Prof. Kiama has provided admirable leadership in a difficult period returning the University to its prestigious position as the leading university in Kenya,” UASU said on Friday.

Also, UASU said there was a need for Prof. Kiama to return as Prof. Julius Ogeng’o’s continued leadership as Acting Vice Chancellor in Prof. Kiama’s absence risked impeding his ability to effectively exercise his mandate as DVC Academic Affairs.
“Students are worried there will be disruption as Acting VC Prof. Ogengo, who is DVC Academic Affairs is not able to fully engage in his docket,” the union added.

Communication regarding Professor Kiama’s leave which was sent to all staff and students via email by the Director of Corporate Affairs, John Orindi sparked a lot of controversy as even the students vowed to strike over the sabbatical leave of the VC.

The university’s students association President Monica Malith said in a statement that no sufficient information was given to the students or their leaders concerning the said leave and urged the council to recall the VC.

“The deliberate course of action taken up by the University Council led by the Chair Dr. Amukowa Anangwe:- to whose effect Prof Kiama’s application request for leave was approved was wrong and untimely,” she said

The University Council said in statement that, “We hereby inform you that the Council of the University of Nairobi at its extraordinary meeting on 31 July 2023 approved the Vice-Chancellor’s request dated 28 July 2023 for a leave of absence for a period of six months with effect from 1 August 2023.

In the absence of the Vice-Chancellor, the Council appointed Prof. Julia Ogeng’o as Acting Vice-Chancellor in office effective August 1, 2023,” the email read.

By Vostine Ratemo

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