OWNERSHIP TUSSLE

Lecturers question transfer of KU hospital to state

Say legality of MoU handing referral facility to the Ministry of Health is doubtful.

In Summary
  • Secretary George Lukoye called for the intervention of the House saying the MOU was mischievous and disadvantages the university and its health sciences students.
  • Lukoye further stated that KU vice chancellor Paul Wainaina signed the MOU under duress.
The Kenyatta University Teaching and Referral Hospital which opens to the public today.
SH8BN INVESTMENT: The Kenyatta University Teaching and Referral Hospital which opens to the public today.
Image: John Kamau

The Universities Academic Staff Union has questioned an MoU between Kenyatta University Teaching, Research and Referral Hospital and Kenyatta University.

Uasu Kenyatta University Chapter said the authenticity and legality of the MoU that transferred ownership of the referral facility from the university to the Ministry of Health is doubtful.

The union pointed out that the KU governing council chair did not sign the document unlike the one of KUTRRH, which was duly signed by the chairperson of the board.

Appearing before the National Assembly’s Committee on Implementation, union secretary George Lukoye called for the intervention of the House saying the MOU was mischievous and disadvantages the university and its health sciences students.

He added that the MOU was signed on different dates and does not address the initial intention of the establishment of KUTRRH.

“The objective of the hospital was teaching, training, research and referral for KU students and even members of the public. It is however clear from the MOU that students may only be allowed to use the facilities at the hospital at the pleasure of hospital leadership,” he claimed.

Lukoye further stated that KU vice chancellor Paul Wainaina signed the MOU under duress. “This is evidenced from his letter dated December 22, 2020 which was copied to the chairperson of Parliamentary Committee on Implementation,” he added.

Committee chair Moitalel ole Kenta promised to consider the pleas of the union while writing their report.

“We are not taking any more submissions from anybody because we do not think they will serve any purpose. We shall put the truth out there and the House will decide,” Kenta promised.

KUTRRH is a 650-bed capacity facility that will offer oncology, renal, trauma and orthopaedics services, among others. Construction started in 2012 when Oliove Mugenda was KU vice chancellor.

The Sh8 billion facility became a state corporation under the Health ministry after President Uhuru Kenyatta signed an order to that effect on January 22, 2019.

Uhuru said the hospital will be run by a CEO and a board of management made up of a non-executive chairperson appointed by the President.

Lukoye thanked former VC Mugenda for coming up with the project but said she should not take it from the university. Appearing before the committee in November 2019, the union said the conversion of the hospital to a parastatal was driven by personal interest.

The union said a few individuals were behind changing the status of the hospital to a parastatal under the Ministry of Health.

“Uasu implores this committee to do whatever it can to ensure that the hospital returns to its initial status and purpose and managed by the university if the purpose and intended objectives have to be achieved,” it said.

Uasu further said it is concerned that Mugenda chairs the KUTRRH board while she is still a member of the Judicial Service Commission.

In October 2019, Health PS Susan Mochache was unable to explain to the committee why Mugenda is a member of the JSC and still chairs the KUTRRH board.

The committee had indicated that the former Kenyatta University vice chancellor should have stopped chairing the KUTRRH board the moment she was appointed to the JSC.

The Constitution states that a member of a constitutional commission, unless ex-officio or part-time, shall not hold any other office or employment for profit, whether public or private.

KUTRRH is the third Health ministry parastatal after Kenyatta National Hospital and Moi Teaching Referral Hospital in Eldoret.

Edited by Henry Makori