OUMA WANZALA

By OUMA WANZALA
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Former University of Nairobi vice-chancellor Prof Peter Mbithi’s hope of returning to the institution has been dashed after a petitioner who had challenged his exit in Labour Court withdrew the case.

Mr George Baraza told the Employment and Labour Relations court on Thursday that he was no longer interested in pursuing the case.

Lady Justice Maureen Onyango allowed the petitioner to withdraw the case. Prof Mbithi was an interested party in the case. Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu) has also applied to be enjoined in the case.

Mr Baraza had sued the Public Service Commission, the Council of UoN and the Attorney General Kihara Kariuki.

He had protested against the fact that Prof Mbithi had been asked by the university to submit himself before PSC for an interview if he was interested in serving a second term at the institution.

Prof Mbithi left the institution on July 6 and Prof Isaac Mbeche was appointed as acting vice-chancellor.

The VC was appointed on December 1, 2014 and took up the position on January 6, 2015 for a five –year term set to lapse in January 2020.

The Statue Law (Miscellaneous Amendment) 2018 Act which was signed into law early this year by President Uhuru Kenyatta took away the power of university councils to advertise, interview and recommend for appointment top university managers.

Last month, Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha said the power which was taken to Public Service Commission (PSC) will be reverted to university councils in an amendment he said would be presented to Parliament soon.

This followed protest from vice-chancellors committee which insisted that academic freedom of universities had been taken away.

Already PSC has advertised for recruitment of vice-chancellor and deputy vice-chancellors at Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.