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Varsity council blocked from meeting room as wrangles rage

Leadership wrangles at the University of Nairobi intensified Friday when the newly appointed council was forced to conduct its first meeting outside the chambers.

The new council led by the chairman Dr Timothy Kiruhi found the doors of the chambers closed and was forced to conduct the meeting at a lounge since the university closed for elections.

Vice-Chancellor Peter Mbithi is the Secretary of the Council and is usually told by council chairman to invite members to meetings.

The development came a day after a case was filed at the High Court by activist Thadayo Obanda in an attempt to stop the meeting with Deputy Vice-chancellor Prof Isaac Mbeche swearing an affidavit to support barring of the new council members from conducting the meeting.

APOLOGIES

On Friday, Dr Kiruhi narrated how they were locked out of the chambers after arriving at the institution at 7am for a special council meeting as all staff, including those he said he  had spoken with, were away from the office and were not picking their calls.

“The VC was also unreachable,” said the new chairman adding that two of the council members had sent apologies though they had been consulted about the Special Council meeting, which was meant to update the council members on the status of the university and also how they can best support the VC and his team.

“The council was able to find a lounge where we held a fruitful meeting. We are hopeful that the inhibitions which the council has experienced since appointment will soon be behind us so that we can contribute towards the good governance and prosperity of UoN,” said Dr Kiruhi.

Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has since stepped in to end the impasse and is scheduled to meet the University Chancellor Dr Vijo Ratansi on Monday.

NEW COUNCIL

In the affidavit, Prof Mbeche argued  that the previous council members of the university who were in office prior to the appointment of the new council are deemed to be in office pending the hearing and determination of the suit.

In the court papers, Prof Mbeche stated that the calling of the meeting that was held Friday was wilful and deliberate disobedience of the court order issued on March 22.

“The interested party is aggrieved by the aforesaid disobedience of the court order since the vice-chancellor   of the university was served with the aforesaid order which contains a penal notice and the vice-chancellor has a duty to ensure compliance with the court order.”

“A court order once issued is meant to be obeyed. Hence, the orders sought herein ought to be granted so as to safeguard the rule of law which is fundamental in the administration of justice,” added Prof Mbeche through Ngatia and Associates.

The council led Dr Kiruhi was re-appointed via Special Gazette Notice dated August 7 by Dr Matiang’i after his earlier appointment in March was quashed by High Court Judge George Odunga for failure to follow the law.

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