Campus Life

UoN sends Prof. Stephen Kiama on ‘permanent’ leave

  • May 23, 2024
  • 3 min read
UoN sends Prof. Stephen Kiama on ‘permanent’ leave

In a significant administrative shakeup, the University of Nairobi has announced that Professor Stephen Kiama has been placed on a permanent leave, with Senior Chancellor Mr. Ayub Njoroge Gitau stepping in as the acting Vice Chancellor. This decision, effective immediately, was communicated by the institution’s management, drawing a mix of reactions from the academic community and beyond.

Academic and Professional Background of Prof. Stephen Kiama

Professor Stephen Kiama was born in 1964 in Gatugi village, Othaya, Nyeri County. His academic journey began at Gatugi Primary School in 1972, followed by Gatugi Secondary School where he completed his Kenya Certificate of Education (KCE), now known as KCSE. Prof. Kiama’s passion for veterinary science led him to the University of Nairobi, where he earned a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and a Master of Veterinary Anatomy. He further advanced his studies at the University of Bern, obtaining a PhD in Structural Biology, solidifying his reputation as a distinguished academic and researcher.

Tenure and Challenges as Vice Chancellor

Prof. Kiama’s tenure as the Vice Chancellor of the University of Nairobi began on January 3, 2020, just before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, his leadership faced numerous challenges, with persistent accusations of mismanagement of the university’s resources and intimidation of staff members. These allegations ultimately led to the university’s decision to send him on leave, as stated in the announcement on April 19.

 Recent Developments

On May 22, 2024, the university management released another statement confirming that Prof. Kiama would remain on leave. The council’s chairperson, Mr. Anangwe, emphasized that all university operations would continue without disruption during this period. “The council wishes to inform the university community and all concerned persons that the decision made on April 19 to grant Professor Stephen Kiama Gitah leave with immediate effect remains in force,” Anangwe stated. He also ordered the reversal of all staff transfers and movements effected in response to the ongoing court case, instructing affected staff to resume their previous roles without obstruction.

Appointment of the Acting Vice Chancellor

Senior Chancellor Mr. Ayub Njoroge Gitau has been appointed as the new acting Vice Chancellor. This transition aims to stabilize the university’s administration amidst the ongoing issues surrounding Prof. Kiama’s leadership. Mr. Gitau’s appointment was announced to ensure continuity and effective management of the institution’s affairs.

Reactions and Implications

The situation has garnered attention from former university officials, including former Vice Chancellor Mr. Alex Matere, who served in 2011/12. Matere expressed his views on the matter via his official X account, @AlexMatere, urging Prof. Kiama to comply with the institution’s management decisions.


The unfolding events at the University of Nairobi raise critical questions about leadership, accountability, and governance within academic institutions. As the university community and stakeholders await the outcome of the ongoing investigations, the focus remains on ensuring that the institution continues to fulfill its academic mission without further disruption.

This situation prompts reflection on similar occurrences in other universities and colleges. Have you ever experienced or heard of a similar scandal at your institution? What do you think are the most effective ways to handle such administrative challenges?



Linus Kamau
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Linus Kamau

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