The University of Nairobi has been ordered to leave the office of deputy vice-chancellor, research, innovation and enterprise vacant while appealing the reinstatement of Prof Michael Madara Ogot to the role.
Prof Ogot was sacked after he issued a circular cancelling the installation of Prof Stephen Kiama as the vice-chancellor.
He won a case for his reinstatement but the university sought to appeal. Meanwhile, he has been serving as a lecturer at the university.
“Bearing in mind that the Prof Ogot’s employment with the applicant as a professor is unaffected and he continues to discharge his duties and earn remuneration as such, the order that commends itself to us is to order a stay of execution of the judgment of the ELRC given on March 5, 2021, pending the hearing and determination of the appeal on condition that the applicant shall not in the meantime fill the position of deputy vice-chancellor, research, innovation and enterprise,” said judges Gatembu Kairu, Agnes Murgor and Jamila Mohammed.
Employment and Labour Relations Court Justice Maureen Onyango ordered the reinstatement of Prof Ogot to the position after he found that his sacking was without basis because the contents of the circular were factual.
Prof Ogot had been accused of insubordination after he issued the circular cancelling the installation. This was after Education secretary George Magoha revoked the appointment of Prof Kiama and appointed Prof Isaac Mbeche in an acting capacity.
“It is my finding that the claimant acted on the authority of his immediate supervisor and the university board to issue the impugned internal memo dated January 18, 2020,” said Justice Onyango.
The judge added that all accusations against Prof Ogot in respect of minutes of the board, insubordination of the vice-chancellor or any other liability arising from the internal memo were levelled against the wrong person.
The court heard that Prof Ogot was appointed to the position in July 2019 on a five-year contract.
He moved to court saying the termination of his employment as DVC was unfair.
The installation of Prof Kiama had been scheduled for January 21, 2020, but it was later cancelled.
He defended himself saying the board decided that all members of staff, stakeholders and students should be informed that the installation would not proceed. Prof Mbeche then instructed him, in his capacity as the acting DVC finance, planning and development, to draft a letter informing the staff, stakeholders and students that the installation would not proceed.