University of Nairobi Vice Chancellor, Prof. Stephen Kiama Gitahi, whose appointment was annulled by Education minister, Prof. George Magoha, on Friday, has vowed to stay put.
On Friday, January 17, Magoha cancelled Kiama’s appointment, and went ahead to dissolve the university’s council and appointed Deputy Vice Chancellor (Finance, Planning and Development) Isaac Meroka Mbeche as the acting VC of the institution.
The minister said Kiama, who, on January 5, was announced as Prof. Peter Mbithi’s successor, will continue dispensing his duties as Deputy VC, Human Resource and Administration, pending appointment of a substantive VC. The CS did not give reasons for the drastic decisions.
But in a quick rejoinder Saturday, Kiama said he won’t vacate office, arguing his appointment was procedural, and, therefore, Magoha cannot say he has revoked it based on those grounds.
“In the face of these developments, I want to urge you all to continue to remain calm and maintain peace and order that has subsisted since my appointment as the Vice Chancellor. Do not be given to acts of lawlessness as peace and stability of the university is important to all of us,” said Kiama in a January 18 memo to UoN staff and students.
“For the avoidance of doubt, my appointment as the lawfully and validly appointed VC of UoN still subsists. As such, I continue in diligent service as your Vice Chancellor and remain available to you all for guidance and direction,” said Kiama.
The ousted VC would, in a subsequent letter to UoN stakeholders and collaborators, ask them to defy directives by Prof. Mbeche, or “any other person other than the legally-appointed VC Prof. Stephen Kiama Gitahi”.
“Any resolutions originating from any other university organs, which by statute are chaired by the VC, if chaired by a person other than the legally appointed VC, or any other person expressly authorised by him in writing, similarly will not be binding,” said Kiama, who suggested he still recognises the Julia Ojiambo-led council of UoN by copying her in his two letters.
It remains to be seen how Kiama’s daring approach will be received by the tough-talking Magoha.