The Exact Reason For University Of Nairobi’s Prof.Kiama’s Extended Leave Finally Revealed
The Exact Reason For University of Nairobi’s Prof.Kiama’s Extended Leave Finally Revealed. Following the announcement that University of Nairobi Vice-Chancellor Stephen Kiama has gone on a six-month leave, the Nation can reveal fresh academic and leadership disputes.
Communication regarding Professor Kiama’s leave was sent to all staff and students via email on Tuesday morning by the Director of Corporate Affairs, John Orindi.
“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.
Later in the afternoon, Professor Kiama was at State House during the launch of President William Ruto’s Presidential Taskforce on Education Reforms report.
Mr Orindi said there was nothing unusual about the leave and that the VC was “exhausted” and proceeded on leave.
However, the nation found that Professor Kiama’s leave application has some flaws.
“I haven’t taken a vacation in a long time, so I’ve accumulated a lot of days. We renamed the university to make it more relevant and I also joined the President’s Task Force on Education Reforms,” he told the Nation.
“I know where we want to go, but I’ve seen some management issues that won’t get us there. If it succeeds, it cannot be the university it is. Let us all think what kind of institution we want. We cannot allow people to keep you busy with mundane things and then measure your performance based on those things. I asked for leave to give me time to think,” Prof Kiama said without going into details, only saying that a shorter leave will not solve these things.
Our efforts to reach the new chairman of the board, prof. Amukow Anangwe, it was in vain. He did not respond to our calls and texts. Other members of the council are Ahmed Sheikh Abdullai, Dr Darmain ole Warkae, Caren Kerubo Omwenga and Dr Sally Ngeringwony Toroitich.
They replaced the board that was appointed in July 2022 and chaired by renowned academic Prof Miriam Were. Other members were Alison Kariuki, Charles Ogolo and Flora Mtuweta Maghanga.
The Nation understands that Prof. Kiama opposes the reappointment of a senior management member whose contract expired last month.
It was after a disagreement with the council on a matter, among other things, that he decided to go on vacation.
That means he won’t be there to welcome and induct new students who will be applying next month, and he’ll also miss two graduations scheduled for September and December.
Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu denied knowledge of any conflict between the VC and the council, but confirmed the receipt of the six-month “renewable” leave request. He disclosed that Prof Kiama had stated in the letter that he did not wish to put his name forward for re-appointment when his tenure expires in 2025.
“There was a misunderstanding with the former council and that is why I said we cannot have a council that does not cooperate with the VC and I replaced it with a new one. The VC is the one who advised Professor Ogeng to act while he is gone and I he agreed. If there was a conflict, he should have come to me,” said Mr Machogu.
On Thursday, August 3, the Acting VC sent a message to all employees regarding their delayed salaries for the month of July.
“It was due to circumstances beyond our control. As a caring organization, we are working to resolve this matter expeditiously so that your salaries are paid soon,” Professor Ogeng’o wrote.
Prof Kiama was installed as the eighth VC of UoN in June 2020 for a five-year term. Then Education CS George Magoha revoked his appointment saying the president was not consulted by the council before the announcement. Professor Kiama went to court but the parties settled the matter out of court.