BREACH OF CONTRACT

Okoa Mombasa, TUM clash over venue heads to court

The civil society coalition is demanding Sh665,353 in compensation, TUM says it will only refund Sh25,000.

In Summary

• The coalition claims the university denied them access to a venue they had paid them for use in the launch of the outfit in November last year.

• However, Technical University of Mombasa says the forum was likely to incite the students and cause unrest

Okoa Mombasa Coalition members outside the Technical University of Mombasa gate after being denied entry on November 2, 2019.
NO ENTRY Okoa Mombasa Coalition members outside the Technical University of Mombasa gate after being denied entry on November 2, 2019.
Image: BRIAN OTIENO

A legal battle looms between Okoa Mombasa Coalition and the Technical University of Mombasa over breach of contract.

The coalition, which constitutes, amongst others, the Muslims for Human Rights, claims the university denied them access to a venue they had paid them to launch the outfit on November 2 last year.

Okoa Mombasa claims it lost Sh665, 000, which it used for the preparation of the launch, which never took place after they were barred from the conference facility they had booked.

“Our client entered into a contract for the use of your conference facilities/hall to host a meeting to discuss governance issues affecting the people of Kenya and sensitise them on their rights".

“Our client duly met its contractual obligations and paid the consideration as required,” a letter from Otieno Ogola & Co. Advocates, on behalf of the coalition, read in part.

The letter addressed to TUM vice chancellor Prof Laila Abubakar is dated December 20, 2019.

 TUM, through Abubakar, however, said the forum was likely to incite students and cause unrest.

Abubakar said they duly informed Okoa Mombasa Coalition of the cancellation in good time, but the coalition denies.

“Otherwise, we would have made alternative arrangements,” Muhuri said.

In a response letter dated January 8, Abubakar said the university reserves the right of admission to its premises.

The VC said being a public institution of higher learning hosting students, it had to inform security agencies of the public forum as required.

“It was after informing the security agents of the meeting that the institution was advised to cancel the said meeting as the same was likely to cause student unrest,” Abubakar said.

“The university takes issues of student safety very seriously and would, therefore, not put in jeopardy the lives of its students by allowing a forum that was likely to incite students to take place in its premises,” the VC said.

TUM said it will only refund the Sh25,000 the coalition paid for the use of the university hall and not any other money they have claimed.

“Your client was duly informed in good time of the cancellation of the event in order for them to make the necessary arrangements to look for another venue,” Abubakar said in the letter.

Muhuri insists it has to be paid the full amount it incurred in preparing for the event. It further denies accusations by the University that it denied the existence of Okoa Mombasa Coalition.

In the January 8 letter, Abubakar claims Muhuri refused to receive the notification of cancellation letter and that the organisation denounced the coalition.

“Furthermore, when the letter was delivered to Muslims for Human Rights office, a purported member of your client’s coalition, they claimed that they did not know the coalition nor had anything to do with it and, therefore, could not receive the letter,” Abubakar said.

“It was, therefore, clear that this coalition did not have a place of business and therefore did not exist”.

She said due diligence demanded that the university cancels the event because the coalition could not be held accountable for any loss or damages that could have occurred.

Abubakar also accused the coalition of not making full disclosure of the event so that the university makes an informed decision.

“Your said illegal act further infringed on our client’s fundamental rights and freedoms to associate and to fair administrative action,” Otieno Ogola & Co. Advocates said.

Okoa Mombasa Coalition members Khelef Khalifa, David Ndii, Maina Kiai, Yash Pal Ghai and Jill Cottrell outside the Technical University of Mombasa gate after being denied entry on November 2, 2019.
HEADS TOGETHER Okoa Mombasa Coalition members Khelef Khalifa, David Ndii, Maina Kiai, Yash Pal Ghai and Jill Cottrell outside the Technical University of Mombasa gate after being denied entry on November 2, 2019.
Image: BRIAN OTIENO