The supremacy battle that has been raging at Turkana University College for over a year now reached its crescendo with the principal Thomas Akuja having been ordered to proceed on compulsory leave to pave way for investigations which have since commenced in earnest against him.
“During a special council meeting held on Wednesday January 29 2020, the Turkana University College Council resolved to send you on compulsory leave with immediate effect to pave way for the relevant government agencies to investigate allegations and/or possible actions of corruption and abuse of office, gross insubordination and conflict of interest,” the letter, a copy of which is in our possession states.
The letter, further accuses Akuja of alleged financial impropriety and/or misappropriations, and flouting of procurement procedures and regulations. It is dated January 29 2020, and signed by chairman of council, Mussolini Kithome, with copies to, among others, cabinet secretary George Magoha, principal secretary State Department for University Education and Research, Simon Nabukwesi, ministry of Education legal adviser Kirimba Machogu.
Others are Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology Chancellor Peter Muthoka and Mmust chairman of council Jeremy Bundi.
And in a swift rejoinder, Akuja, who was directed to hand over the institution management to the deputy principal in charge of academics Fredrick Kassilly acknowledged having received the letter from the council and confided to this writer that he was more than prepared to battle it out. He said as he prepares to hand over, he was consulting with his lawyer on how best to counter the allegations leveled against him.
For more than a year now, the college has been caught between a rock and a hard place following cold war that has been simmering between senior officers of the management and members of university council. A senior academic at the college who talked to the press but declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter, was point blank in describing the Kithome-led council as a “rogue council”.
He told your favourite Weekly Citizen that it is a council that does not want to have anything to do with mentoring of an institution. “The council is full of insatiable lust for meetings, yet nothing significant is resolved at the end of the day,” he added.
The academician confided that the fight against Akuja was instigated by the council’s lust to conduct several meetings so as to pocket more allowances, explaining that the principal allegedly fell in trouble when he pleaded with them to reduce the sittings which the budget could not accommodate. He said the council had previously clashed with the founding acting principal Egara Kabaji just because he had told them that the 173 meetings scheduled during the period were too many as compared to available budgetary resources.
Observers opine that members of council under its chairman Kithome, may have panicked and arrived at the decision to bundle out the principal on realising that their contract will be coming to an end in the next two months, and therefore, accelerated their fight with the principal whom allegedly they viewed as a thorn in their flesh to be axed before their term ends in March, this year.
Sources divulge that the bad blood between the council whose members include Justus Wambutura, Nixon Mageka, Salome Mwendar, Sophy Kirorei, Mele Joseph, and Paul Mwangi and the principal started when the latter decided to cancel the contracts of the then acting deputy principal by Stephen Odebero, and administrative assistant, Beatrice Ondago.
Council had in a letter to Akuja dated March 22 2019, warned, among other things, of dire consequences against the principal including disciplinary action for not towing the line as its employer.
The latest communication dated January 22 2020, Kithome further warned the principal of disciplinary action if he will have not complied with a directive from Education ministry that the duo above be reinstated without much ado.
Even as council and Education ministry had been sucked into the matter to have Odebero reinstated, the latter is currently before Employment and Labour Relations Court, Eldoret, Case No 1247/2018, in a case coming up for hearing on February 19 this year. Odebero who was on secondment from Mmust in Kakamega, wants the principal’s letter that sent him packing be revoked to allow him continue working at TUC.
He is represented by Victor Ayieko who in his application filed under certificate of urgency, accuses Akuja of not having locus standi to remove Odebero from Tuc back to Mmust and that the action was discriminatory, an abuse of power and violation of the Employment Act Cap 226 Section 5 (1) viii.
And in an interview with some of the local people who included manambas, motorcycle riders and some of the students, they appeared to have been shocked by the actions taken by both Council and Education ministry, saying they were in total agreement with the decision by the principal to send Odebero and Ondago packing.
The locals said they will not allow Odebero back at Tuc and that they are behind the decision taken by the principal, a scientist by profession, with more than 30 years in the academic world.
And asked for comment, Prof Akuja was conservative with his words. He said apart from liaising with his advocate, he is at the same time communicating with officials in Education ministry and hoped his prayers will be answered, adding that he is a mere victim of circumstances.
“In fact, a female council member is the cause of the problems we are having at TUC,” he told this writer, adding that although with very little understanding of how universities work, the council seemed to rely so much on her, probably because she is a schemer who enables them organise many meetings and pocket more allowances.
The principal said he had differed with the council after realising that most of members of council lacked principles.
“For instance, the chair does not seem to have a stand, cannot call his members to order leaving them to run amok as he does not guide them as to provisions of the law and government regulations,” he said.
He further accused members of council of acting as ‘executive’ or part of Tuc management team and in so doing; they had allegedly been interfering in the institution’s operations by dealing directly with members of staff instead of going through the principal.
FKF elections hang in balance – Weekly Citizen
The eagerly awaited Football Kenya Federations elections hang in the balance after the game was switched from the playing field to the Sports Disputes Tribunal pitting FKF president Nick Mwendwa on one side and subbranches which he has locked out of the coming elections in total disregard of Fifa Statutes, Constitution of Kenya, Sports Act 2013 and FKF Constitution 2015 on the other side.
A section of the subbranches have since moved to SDT through two clubs – Bondeni FC and Cheptiret United FC – to challenge the move by Mwendwa to lock them out of the elections. The government through Sports Registrar Rosemary Wasike has lined up a legal team to challenge Mwendwa’s decision to sue the government seeking orders for SDT to be allowed to conduct sham elections without following the law.
With subbranches moving to SDT through the two clubs, preparations for the forthcoming football elections have been thrown into disarray and all eyes are now on lawyer John Ohaga who is the chairman of the tribunal for settling sports disputes in the country.
Things are getting elephant for Mwendwa and his entire executive committee since their term in office ended last Sunday and currently any move or any decision made by FKF national executive committee is illegal and not binding since it can be challenged at SDT and in any other court.
Days after FKF moved to the Sports Disputes Tribunal seeking to have directives issued by the Sports Registrar stopping its elections declared as “mala fides, unreasonable and unlawful”, the two clubs who have moved to SDT on behalf of FKF sub branches have sounded a death knell for Mwendwa and his regime of looting of funds from the government and sponsors and murder which has tarnished the image of the federation.
The two clubs avers that the exclusion of FKF subbranches from the coming elections undermines their constitutional rights because as per Fifa Statutes, Sports Act 2013, Constitution of Kenya and FKF Constitution 2015 which STD ruled that will be relied and can only be changed after the elections gives them the right to participate and vote in the coming FKF Elections.
“The exclusion of clubs participating in sub-branch organised or subbranch authorised football competitions violates sections of the Sports Act 2013 as read with Article 81 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 in that the same are neither free nor fair, nor based on universal suffrage,” the clubs said through their lawyers, Charles Ouma and Co Advocates.
With FKF having inaugurated an elections board and the electoral timetable that has kicked off and expected to end on April 4, the clubs want the Tribunal to dispose of the case before elections are conducted.
The move comes a day after FKF published a public notice in a national daily, as ordered by the Tribunal on February 6. The notice challenges among other issues, the Sports Registrar’s directives demanding the registration of constituent clubs/members of the sports federation as a mandatory requirement before conducting elections.
Nandi deputy governor plans to resign – Weekly Citizen
Nandi county deputy governor Yuliya Mitei is planning to resign after Governor Stephen Sang was implicated in mega scams. Mitei whom Sang has isolated in the running of county affairs, was opposed to the return of chief of staff Stanley Baliach by county assembly after being ousted.
Those in the know claim, the embattled Sang has openly declared, he will have his new found political lover health CEC Ruth Koech as the runningmate 2022 as Mitei has become a political baggage and a spy to Nandi senator Samson Cherargai. Cherargai is planning to oppose Sang 2022.
Sang is at war with residents, suppliers and county employees. Contractors who have gone for years demanding pending bills payments are now planning a major demonstration to paralyse the town. MCAs who have raised serious audit and administrative queries without answers are now planning an impeachment petition.
The senator who is popular on ground has invited Ethics and Anti-Corruption Authority, Directorate of Criminal Investigations and Office of the Director of Public Prosecution to investigate corruption.
The list of those looting the county are Alfred Lagat, CEC finance and planning, Meshack Malakwen, the finance chief officer who has invested in real estates using concubines, Priscah Muigei, the county head of budget, who boasts to be Sang’s adviser, Hellen Chemosbei, county head of treasury, with serious family woes, Japheth Tirop, the head of supplies and procurement, known to push tenders for highest bidder, Baliach, head of county delivery unit and Sang’s financial handler who salivates for any skirt in front. Baliach was allegedly blamed for the suicide of the county employee who was found dead in a hotel sometimes back.
Unfolding events in Ukambani politics – Weekly Citizen
Former Kitui governor Julius Malombe who lost to Charity Ngilu has hinted at challenging the incumbent who is facing hard political times in the county.
Ngilu trounced both Malombe and former senator David Musila to clinch the seat on her Narc party ticket party courtesy of her down-to- earth politics which endeared her to voters as opposed to Musila and Malombe who were considered elite and bossy.
But pundits say, Malombe must hundle the arrogance of members of his family moreso the former First Lady if he is to win back confidence of voters.
Ngilu also rode on her past development record when she served as Kitui Central MP since the advent of multiparty politics. During her tenure in parliament she also served as minister for Water and Health.During the first term of Jubilee government, she served as Lands minister shortly before being sacked by Uhuru Kenyatta.
Her exit from cabinet where she used to ride high forced her to set eyes on Kitui governor’s seat then held by Malombe who got it courtesy of Kalonzo Musyoka who fully backed him during the last nominations. Malombe was considered a career civil servant who was finding it difficult to balance the political interests of those who helped him win the seat.
Although credited with initiating development projects across the vast county, he fell out with MPs and influential leaders from the county who plotted his ouster.
The powerful anti-Malombe forces towards the 2017 general elections rotated around Ngilu and then senator Musila who had also declared interest for the seat.
Malombe and Musila participated in the shambolic Wiper party primaries where Musila believed he won. However in order for Kalonzo to stand with his only loyal governor from Ukambani, he prevailed on the party to hand over the certificate to Malombe. The move forced Kalonzo’s old ally Musila to defect and contest the seat on an independent ticket.The fierce fight pitting two Kalonzo loyalists played to the advantage of Ngilu who had stuck with her Narc party. In order to cool down her perennial wars with Kalonzo in the region and appease Kitui voters, Ngilu threw her weight behind Nasa coalition where Kalonzo was Raila Odinga’s runningmate and aggressively campaigned for the Kalonzo.
The move to mend fences with Kalonzo helped Ngilu win Wiper party dierhands and completely neutralise Malombe and Musila.However matters started going bad for Ngilu upon assuming office with allegations that she had staffed her office with non-Kitui employees and key advisers at the expense of locals.
The key advisers and aides majority immediate family members are believed to have alienated the county boss from voters. The county has also faced cases of massive corruption under her watch. According to locals much of her campaign promises failed with the much publicised ndengu revolution proving a big let down.
The project which went down with Sh300million public money did not benefit farmers as the county failed to secure the market for the produce.Ngilu has also fallen out with MCAs majority who come from Wiper party.She also does not see-eye-to-eye with the assembly speaker George Ndoto.
Ndoto and Ngilu rivalry dates back to 1992 elections where she unseated him as Kitui Central MP.
Ngilu has also staged war with Kalonzo by teaming up with both Makueni governor Kivutha Kibwana and Alfred Mutua of Machakos who are now leading anti-Kalonzo battalion in the region. Kalonzo on his side has vowed to make Ngilu a one time governor by bringing Malombe back to the throne.
Kalonzo has hinted to his close allies that he still has soft spot for Malombe who has proved loyal to him and the party. Initially he had settled on his close ally Mwingi Central MP Gedion Mulyungi to take on Ngilu come 2022 but has prevailed on the first time MP to defend his seat. Malombe and Ngilu hail from Kitui Central with the deciding votes likely to be in Mwingi.
Malombe has already set a secretariat ready to recapture the seat with Ngilu feeling the heat on the ground. During the BBI rally held in Kitui stadium, Ngilu’s decision to work directly with Raila Odinga sidelining Kalonzo who eventually attended rubbed the Wiper leader the wrong way.
To stay relevant in Kenyan politics, she has set her eyes on the deputy prime minister’s post once the executive structure is changed.To achieve her ambitions, she has positioned herself as Raila pointwoman in the region a position she wants to use to bargain with the former prime minister if his side carries the day.
Raila on his side has promised her the post with a condition that she fights Kalonzo in Ukambani. Kalonzo’s marriage with Raila is on its death bed now that Raila has disowned the 2017 MoU that had conditioned him to back Kalonzo come 2022. However the Ukambani governors’ alliance that was united against Kalonzo has fallen apart with Mutua now trooping back to Kalonzo.Kibwana is fully behind William Ruto while Ngilu is backing Raila. Former Machakos senator Johnson Muthama has has moved to Ruto side after tycoon Peter Muthoka decided to throw his wealth behind Kalonzo. Talk is rife, Muthoka is eyeing a governorship seat and is laying ground with Kalonzo support.
Currently Muthama is facing serious financial woes after the state cancelled his mining licences and has been lobbying Ruto to help him get back. Kenya Revenue Authority is on his neck after Muthama started dealing with Ruto.
The Kitui race will prove a complicated one for the incumbent Ngilu with more candidates expressing intrest. The name of Kenya’s envoy to Uganda Kiema Kilonzo has also featured in the 2022 matrix.
Kiema factor is gaining ground after he divorced Ruto to Wiper. Pundits say much will depend on who Kalonzo will back considering that he is still the Kamba political kingpin and also the fact that he comes from the county.
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