Kenyatta University Council has sacked embattled Vice Chancellor Prof Paul Wainaina barely a month after his dramatic comeback, amid a land tussle with the government.
Acting Kenyatta University VC Waceke Wanjohi announced in a memo dated August 15.
Prof Wainaina returned to the university at the end of July, a fortnight after his emotional address to staff on July 12 suggested he had surrendered and resigned.
“Further to the earlier communication from the Kenyatta University Council, I write to inform you that the council vide a letter to Prof Paul K Wainaina, resolved to summarily dismiss him from service with effect from August 5, 2022,” read the memo.
Prof Wainaina’s woes stem from the disputed ownership of a parcel of land that is adjacent to Kenyatta University Teaching Research and Referral Hospital, which led to his dismissal.
On Friday, the Employment and Labour dismissed a petition by Prof Wainaina and former council chair Migot Adhola, clarifying that the government’s plan to use 410 acres of KU land meant well.
The petition was seeking to stop the government from taking over and investing in 410 acres of land belonging to the institution.
Prof Wainaina has since asked students and staff to disregard the current administration, urging them to keep calm and wait for the court’s verdict as the matter had been appealed under a certificate of urgency.
He said he had been hounded out of the office together with the former university council “for resisting executive impunity to surrender 410 acres of KU land to the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning”.
“Remember that by law the council is in office illegally as there is no gazette notice of their appointment. It, therefore, follows that all of their decisions are also illegal and will be determined null and void,” he said in the letter addressed to KU staff and students.
Prof Wanjohi, in her memo yesterday, advised KU members of staff and students to disregard any communication or instructions from Prof Wainaina.
“Therefore, any communication and/or instructions from him, are null and void. I, therefore, request you to remain focused and ensure the university continues to run smoothly without disruptions,” she said.
Prof Wainaina was appointed KU VC for a five-year term on January 26, 2018.
Documents tabled in Parliament exposed behind-the-scenes battles pitting the hospital board against the Kenyatta University management for control of the Sh8.7 billion facility.
Initial plans for the establishment of the hospital were for its facilities to be used for teaching, training, and research exclusively.
However, this has not happened, making the matter among three cases touching on KU that have been filed in the courts.
A PhD holder in education philosophy from Canada, Prof Wainaina has worked in different universities for the last 36 years, with most of them spent at KU. He first became a lecturer at KU in 1985, before joining Moi University as a senior lecturer in 1987.
He served as an associate professor of education at Moi University between 1990 and 1996, then rose to full professor at the same institution.
He went back to KU in 2005 as a professor. Four years later, he was appointed a member of the KU Management Board, serving for five years. He also became a member of the Inter-Public Universities Councils Consultative Forum (IPUCCF), which deals with employment in public institutions of higher learning.
One of Prof Wainaina’s biggest achievements at KU has been overseeing the construction of the university’s fly-over that connects the hostels and the main wing, a project whose completion and usage angered some students.