Court Stops Kenyatta University Land Takeover
A Nairobi court has stopped any planned
subdivision of land owned by Kenyatta University while it determines on a
petition submitted by the Law Society of Kenya (LSK).
Justice Oscar Angote also barred the
government from harassing university staff in order to execute a cabinet decision.
The decision follows a letter from the Head of the Public Service, Joseph
Kinyua, to KU Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Paul Wainaina, directing him to hand over
the land’s title deed.
The matter was ordered to be heard on July
27 by Justice Angote. LSK informed the court that Prof. Shem Migot-Adholla, the
head of the university council, had raised constitutional and statutory
concerns over the intended land acquisition. LSK was represented by senior
counsel Ahmednasir Abdullahi.
Wainaina had opposed plans to extract
a portion of the public university’s land. The government has designated 30 as
the location for the World Health Organization (WHO) Emergency Hub, a new
facility intended to service the region.
Additionally, the government has designated
180 acres for the Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital
(KUTRH), 10 acres for the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and
190 acres to rsettle the Kamae Squatters (KUTRH). Wainaina opposed the
government’s plans to hive off the land and insisted that no discussions or
consultations took place.
Wainaina has subsequently resigned due to
the controversy, and the university council has been suspended. According to
reports, their chosen replacements were reluctant to take overover amid the
Days before Wainaina resigned, President
Uhuru attacked government officials over land management, promising to deal
with them “swiftly and effectively.” This was generally interpreted
as an attack on Wainaina.
“We have individuals who are very ignorant
and behave as if they have never entered a classroom… they don’t understand
that Kenya has never operated in isolation. We shall deal with those
individuals swiftly and very effectively,” Uhuru stated at a ground-breaking
ceremony for the WHO Hub.
The WHO hub is scheduled for completion in
three years. The government has allocated 12.4 hectares (30.64 acres) and
committed $5 million (Ksh600 million) for the project.