Former Egerton University VC Insists She still Holds the Post, Files Case in Court

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Egerton University, UASU, Rose Mwonya

Embattled former Egerton University Vice-Chancellor Rose Awuor Mwonya has suffered another blow after the Labour court dismissed her application to reinstate her.

Justice Hellen Wasilwa dismissed the case on January 14 saying it lacks merit.

Prof Mwonya’s term officially came to an end on January 12 after attaining the mandatory retirement age of 70

However, she moved to court to fight a decision to have her retire saying she is entitled to serve until she is 74.

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On January 13, Egerton University Council appointed Prof Isaac Ongubo Kibwage as the institution’s acting vice-chancellor.

This is the second time Prof Kibwage is being appointed the acting VC of the financially troubled university.

The Njoro-based campus owes pensioners’ funds, saccos, part-time lecturers, Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), private hospitals and other suppliers billions of shillings in unpaid debts which have been pending for years.

Prof Kibwage was first appointed acting VC on November 20, 2020 following a circular issued and signed by the university’s Registrar for Human Capital and Administration, Dr Thomas Serem.

However, as the power struggle intensified, on December 2, 2020, Prof Mwonya issued a general notice to staff and students and insisted that she was still the substantive VC of Egerton University until further notice.

Prof Mwonya said that the University Council has no power to appoint a VC and only the Education Cabinet Secretary can.

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She claimed that the council had told Education CS that she was not eligible for contract renewal.

“The respondent (council) has no basis to prematurely interject and interrupt the CS’s final decision making the applicant’s application for a second term as a VC, alleging she is ineligible for reappointment,” read the application.

Prof Mwonya argued that the internal policy of the university is that a professor who attains the mandatory retirement age of 70 is entitled to apply to be considered for contract renewal.

“The VCs are usually engaged on a one-year contract basis, renewable on an application for a further period of four years until they are 74,” read her application.

She further argued that the CS usually considers the application for contract renewal on a case-by-case basis.

However, Justice Hellen Wasilwa ruled that the application by the VC had already been heard and determined by another court.

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Justice Wasilwa said Judge Monica Mbaru had given a full judgement on May 15 2019, in a matter related to the application by Prof Mwonya saying it will be unlawful to reopen the case.

Subsequently, Prof Mwonya has moved to the Court of Appeal to challenge the decision by the Labour court.

“Take notice that Prof Awuor Mwonya, the ex parte applicant herein being aggrieved and dissatisfied with the ruling and consequential orders of the Employment and Labour Relations Court at Nakuru (Justice Hellen Wasilwa) delivered on January 14, 2021, intends to appeal to the Court of Appeal against the entire decision,” read documents filed in court by her advocates Rachier and Amollo.

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