Court nullifies KU’s UASU elections
Universities' Academic Staff Union (UASU) Kenyatta University branch has suffered a major setback after the employment and labour court nullified its elections held on March 25, 2021.
In a judgement delivered by Justice James Rika on Friday nullified the elections and ordered for fresh polls to be held within two months.
“The election results of March 25 are nullified and the UASU KU chapter shall update the chapter's voter registrar and be advised by the registrar,” Justice Rika ruled.
He further directed that no registration shall be effected by the Registrar of Trade Unions with regard to the results of March 25, 2021 elections.
Justice Rika further directed that upon updating the voters registrar, inspection of the register by members and with the concurrence of UASU Chairman KU chapter and Registrar of Trade Unions , the Kenyatta university UASU chapter shall hold fresh elections within 60 days of this judgment.
“It is declared that the UASU KU Chapter Executive and Secretary violated the petitioners fundamental right and freedoms under the constitution of Kenya and labour relations Act by excluding them from the voter register,” he stated.
The orders were issued after four KU lecturers namely Franklin Kinoti, Chrispus Easier, Antony Wasena and Moses Opiyo challenged the University Academic Staff Union's KU chapter elections on the basis that they were a sham.
The judge noted that it was satisfied that the petitioners specified rights and freedoms under the constitution and the labour relations Act were violated as they were denied the basic right of participating in their chapter’s elections.
“The petitioner’s rights and freedoms under section 4 of the Labour relations Act and article 36 and 41 of the constitution in particular were ravaged,” Rika ruled.
According to the judge the Registrar of Trade Unions for interfering in the internal affairs of the trade unions.
“The role of the registrar is to register trade unions and regulate them in accordance with the law not to conduct trade unions internal processes,” Rika said.
The court stated that the registrar is a public officer whose role is to registrar and regulate Trade Union this role does not include the running of Trade Union internal affairs.
The Judge said that Trade Unions are voluntary organization entitled to self-government and courts would not interfere with their internal decisions where democratic culture is ingrained
“It would not have been necessary for the OASU to keep inviting the registrar in to assist in the electoral process had the Union embraced internal democracy and demonstrated capacity to run a transparent, fair and accountable process,” he ruled.
The lecturers through Lawyer Danstan Omari sought to have the court to nullify the election results and compel the UASU Kenyatta university to conduct a fresh election.
This is after the four petitioners claim that the UASU secretary unjustifiably excluded them and 145 other lecturers from the voter register.
According to the court papers, they argued that the chairman of UASU on March 25, 2021 did conduct a sham election to the exclusion of 147 legitimate voters who are fully subscribed members of the UASU Kenyatta University chapter.
Omari submitted to court that his clients were keen on participating in the union elections but were not granted the opportunity.
The Petitioners say that they are grieved by their unexplained and unjustified loss of their legitimate expectation to vote and participate in the lawful activities of the union that was held on March 25.
The four argue that they have fully subscribed as members of the union having met all requirements set under the union's constitution.