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Fireworks loading at Egerton University – Weekly Citizen

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As we usher in 2023, there is still unresolved crisis at one of Kenya’s learning institutions, the Egerton University, following a stalemate between the cashstrapped administration and members of staff over the much touted layoffs and the planned restructuring process at the institution that is said to be ill-timed, irrational and illogical.

Fireworks are expected at the institution of learning with more court battles in the offing. It is said the planned layoffs targets those who are anti-establishment and said to be sympathetic to former VC Rose Mwonya. It is said Mwonya did not want current VC Isaac Kibwage to succeed her.

Kibwage during the interviews faced Alexander Kahi, Peninah Obudho, Prisca Tuitoek, Mwavu Mutua and Douglas Shitanda.

Sources say Prof Kibwage due to his poor management style was not popular with the university community but was favoured by the council.

University Academic Staff Union Egerton University chapter says the intended declaration of redundancy at the institution cannot happen since the university has no cash to effect it.

“The university must pay the deferred salaries because the Employment and Labour Relations Court found that the move to reduce workers’ pay was unlawful,” Uasu chapter secretary Grace Kibue said in a statement.

Kibue told the university c o u n c i l to avoid diversionary tactics and direct its energy in d e p l o y i n g all means possible to get money to pay employees.

T h e redundancy memo was released by deputy vice-chancellor administration and planning Richard Mulwa barely after the Labour Court in Nakuru handed the institution’s vice chancellor and eight council members a one-month jail term for contempt of court.

The nine who were given an alternative penalty of Sh100,000 each were found guilty of defying court orders to produce evidence to prove that their move to reduce employees’ salaries by 40pc was caused by economic effects of Covid-19. After the civil jail, the Egerton Nine as they are now commonly referred to are engaged in witchhunt.

The VC had to forge medication report that he was sick to avoid attending the court ruling.

The notice signed by Prof Mulwa said the decision was aimed at managing the wage bill and “bring more efficiency in delivering the university’s mandate to its employees and customers”.

The university in an internal memo dated December 21 2022 addressed to staff indicated that the university council reached the decision following the difficulties the institution has been undergoing.

The redundancy as per the notice will affect staff across all departments.

Kibwage and eight council members were jailed for 30 days for defying a May 30 2022 order to pay lecturers full salaries.

Justice David Nderitu said VC Kibwage and the management team took the court orders casually.



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