The official launch of Kenyatta University Teaching Referral and Research hospital, scheduled for this week has been halted after Activist Okiya Omtatah moved to court to challenge it.
According to Omtatah, launching KU as a state parastatal contravenes the law. That the facility was set up as a referral and research hospital under Kenyatta University and an attempt to take it away is unlawful when it comes to protecting the university’s name and assets from third parties. Although the hospital was constructed using government loans, Omtata insists that it has largely remained under the management of the university.
Also, a legal notice issued in January, directing that the facility be a separate State corporation or parastatal, is said to be unlawful. This notice saw Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki appoint Andrew Toro as acting Chief Executive Officer in April in the disputed hospital which will be run by the board. Omtatah highlighted that individuals who may resign from other places of work to take appointments at the hospital will suffer irreversible damage should the case succeed.
“From the Constitution, the Universities Act 2012 and Kenyatta University’ Charter, Statutes and Strategic plan, the hospital is an integral part of the varsity hence legal notice No. 2 of January 22, 2019, which purports to establish it as separate State corporation or parastatal is a nullity in law,” the activist said.
This row between the university and the government on who should manage it has seen the 650-bed facility expected to provide specialized treatment, especially for tumours, alongside training and research lie idle for two years.