A Nairobi court has stopped the Public Service Commission (PSC) from hiring a vice chancellor of Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology .
This is after Activist Okiya Omtatah moved to the Employment and Labour Relations Court to challenge the recruitment over allegations that the processwas marred by corruption and other irregularities.
Masinde Muliro has been without a substantive VC for tover a year since the exit of Prof Fredrick Otieno whose term was not renewed or extended.
In his submissions, Omtatah asked the court to invalidate the whole process since the employer (PSC) included members of the university’s council in the interview panel. This is against an amendment in 2018 act which ousted university governing councils from being directly involved in the hiring of vice chancellors.
PSC included Samson Muchelule and Jeremy Bunde, a move that Omtatah claims compromised the entire process.
Omtatah also argued in his submissions that the decision by the University council not to extend Prof Otieno’s term without giving him a chance to be heard was in breach of the constitutional rights to fair labour practices.
He said Prof Otieno’s term should have been renewed automatically given his trac record of good performance.
Justice Byrum Ongaya ordered that the recruitment process to be halted until the case filed by Omtatah is herad and determined. He also ordered for the maintaince of the status quo since Otieno is still leading the institution in an acting capacity, to allow free and fair recruitment of a new VC with strict adherence to the law.
After the exit of Prof Otieno in November, last year, Prof Joseph Bosire was appointed in acting capacity as the VC until July, this year, when he was replaced by Prof Asenath Sigot.
The council shortlisted names of five candidates for the interview but senior lecturers from the university who had expressed interest but missed out, moved to court.