KU to cede land for WHO hub after lawyers' petition thrown out


Former Kenyatta University Vice-Chancellor Paul Wainaina. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NMG

The Court of Appeal dismissed a bid by the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) to stop Kenyatta University (KU) from surrendering part of its land to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The LSK had in July 2022 filed a temporary injunction restraining the government from subdividing, annexing or alienating on the 490 acres under contention.

The three-judge bench of the appellate court said the LSK did not show that the loss of the property cannot be adequately remedied by an award of damages.

“We find that the applicant has failed to satisfy the second limb of the twin principle in accord with the requirements under Rule 5(2) (b) of the Court of Appeal rules and, accordingly, its motion fails,” reads the ruling.

Dismissal of the appeal means the government is now free to cede part of the KU’s land to the WHO, which is setting up a Sh600 million emergency hub to cater to its regional operations.

The Ministry of Health says in internal documents that the World Bank-funded Infectious Disease Unit to be located at KU will be run by the Kenyatta National Hospital.

In case the government is found to be in the wrong, then the university stands to be compensated.

According to the LSK application, the government has never called for public participation or asked the public to raise issues on compulsory acquisition of the land.

“In view of the foregoing, we form the view that the applicant has demonstrated that it has an arguable appeal, and has satisfied the first limb of the twin principle for grant of orders Under Rule 5(2) (b) of this Court’s Rules,” the ruling states.

Kenyatta University vice chancellor Paul Wainaina was forced out of office and the university’s council was suspended for refusing to surrender the title deeds as directed by the Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua.

Read: Strong-willed Kenyatta University VC who defied power

Prof Wainaina said the idea to grant land to WHO was not in the best interest of the university as no consultations were done and they were not involved.

[email protected]