The Mount Kenya University (MKU) has extended all contracts for all staff in and outside Kenya month by month until the university re-opens, consequently halting negotiations for new employment agreement.
In a memo, MKU chairman Simon Gicharu said the move was aimed at helping the finance department process payments for staffers whose contracts had expired, and could not be paid by the University.
“Covid-19 has affected normal operations where internal processes are followed to validate the renewals and there is a standing policy that inhibits the directorate of finance from processing salaries for the affected staff whose contracts have expired,” Said Gicharu.
“We direct the council to extend all contracts for all staff in and outside Kenya month by month until the university re-opens to enable the affected staff to renegotiate their contracts in the normal manner.”
The move is set to benefit hundreds of the University’s employees in its eight campuses in Kenya, four open learning centres in Kisii, Kakamega, Kitale and Meru.
The University has also offices in Rwanda, Uganda, Somalialand, Puntland, Burundi and Uganda.
In March, MKU and Japan-based Osaka City University jointly won a Ksh450 million grant from Japan International Cooperation Agency for malaria research.
Most universities in Kenya have recorded reduced revenue flows that came from payment of fees, with most opting for online learning for continuation.
Among other measures, the university extended the online learning platform to the regular students (day, evening and weekend).
The immediate former acting Vice Chancellor Prof Peter Wanderi announced that Open, Distance and Electronic Learning (ODEL) and Distance, Institution-Based and Electronic Learning (DIBEL) students will continue with their learning uninterrupted.
Recently, MKU extended the term of Prof Stanley Waudo as the Vice Chancellor, after the newly appointed Vice Chancellor was locked out of the country due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Prof Waudo has been at the helm for over 11 years, and proceeded for terminal leave of six months on October 28, pending expiry of his term.
Prof Peter Wanderi was appointed as the acting Vice Chancellor before the new one took over on May 1. Prof Wanderi’s term expired on April 30, and by that time the new Vice Chancellor had not made it to the country. Prof Wanderi is also unable to access the facility, as he is also locked outside Nairobi.
“The Acting Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Peter Wanderi who was appointed to serve in that position has his appointment expiring on 30th April, 2020. In addition, due to the containment regulations imposed by the government, Prof. Wanderi whose residence is outside the Nairobi Metropolitan Area cannot currently access the University physically,” said the chairman of the University Council Prof David Serem.
Prof Waudo will serve until a new Vice Chancellor is announced and the situation enables him to hand over.