African Press International (API)

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Denis Ochieng: I was slapped by Vice Chancellor Prof Stephen Agong

Posted by African Press International on February 16, 2016

By Dickens wasonga

The Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology {JOOUST} Vice Chancellor Prof Stephen Agong is a man under siege. The VC is on the spot for allegedly assaulting a union official last week.

Mathews Oduol who is the JOOUST staff union secretary has sensationally accused the VC of allegedly assaulting him on Monday last week.

Oduol claims the VC slapped him twice when he led a team of seven union officials from the branch for a meeting to discuss grievances of the staff at his office within the University situated in Bondo Town of Siaya County.

According to Oduol, the VC rung him two weeks ago and asked to meet him plus the other officials of the branch at the university’s main campus.

They agreed to meet on Monday last week to discuss the issues which were being raised by the union members.

Before they could meet the VC, the union officials decided to briefly meet at their branch office in Bondo town.

Oduol claims that after the consultative meeting he then led seven other officials to the University main campus with the intention of meeting the Vice Chancellor as earlier agreed on a telephone conversation.

But things took a bad turn to Oduol within a twinkle of an eye when the VC pounced on him with blows.

‘’ We were at the stair way leading to the VC’s office when he emerged. Behind him was his security detail’’ said Oduol.

Oduol claims that without any provocation, the VC slapped him twice, while ignoring the other official who was leading the way. ‘’I heard him shout, why are you are destroying my university?’’

Oduol claims he never hit back at the VC but the brief commotion caught the attention of students and the staff who were at the corridor and a crowd began to gather.

He claims the VC then decided to address the crowd which he alleges booed him.

After the incident Oduol rushed to report the matter to the police in Bondo. He also sought treatment at the Bondo sub county hospital before proceeding to record a statement at the office of the DCIO Bondo.

On a recorded telephone interview, Oduol told this writer that three of his colleagues who witnessed the alleged assault have also recorded their statements at the office of the DCIO Bondo.

The police report was registered under the Occurrence Book{OB} Number 16/08/02/2016 at 9 16 hours.

Oduol claims they had numerous pending issues affecting their members which they wanted the university top administration to address amongst them the non implementation of CBAs.

However the main two issues that they wanted resolved immediately was the failure by the university to pay allowances to the staff who took part in the national games which the university hosted in December last year.

The union at the branch was also not happy with the manner in which the university paid out some money as allowance to various cadres of staff from the proceeds of a research project.

Oduol alleged that while most of the staff, including lecturers received just Shs 5,000, top officials of the university paid themselves between shs 100,000 to shs 500,000 including the VC.

He alleged that those at the finance department pocketed between shs 40,000 and shs 70,000 adding that it was the glaring disparity in the allowances that angered most union members who questioned the criteria used to decide who was getting what was given out.

Those who took teams to the satellite towns such as Usenge and Siaya for example also never got their allowances.

When reached for comment the VC denied assaulting the union official. While he confirmed that indeed there was a delay by the university to pay allowances to those who took part in the university games in December last year, the VC said he was not to blame.

He said the officer who was working on a document to facilitate the payment was the one who took long to process the same adding that the affected were already paid or would be paid soon.

Prof Agong said he was ready to face his accusers in court to prove their claims.
‘’ Am aware they are saying I slapped one of them. I also took them to court in Kisumu for participating in an illegal strike. This matter is now before court and it will be determined there so I would not wish to comment further’’ said Prof Agong.

Agong claimed that he was being fought by a section of the locals from within Bondo where the university is located and he even singled out a professor working at the university and is from the area as being behind a scheme to see him ejected.

Agong said those who were crying foul about how the research cash was given out were not being honest because they should not have even been paid anything to begin with.

‘’ Some of the lectures have never even put together a research proposal and should be thankful that we paid them. They can’t get the same amount with the others who looked for the cash.

The VC said he has successfully fund raised for various research projects for the university and currently the World Bank is funding research projects worth millions of shillings and some people want him out to benefit from his efforts. ‘’ They will fail because World Bank funding is based on ones CV and not just on who you think you are ‘’ said Agong.

However, the KUSU Secretary General Dr. Charles Mukhwaya condemned the alleged assault incident and vowed to ensure justice is served to the branch official.

In a telephone interview, the Secretary General said he has met the VC and his team in Bondo and during the visit, the union established that the official was attacked and in full view of the public.

‘’ In fact it is unbelievable that the VC is still in office . He should not still be holding a public office while facing this kind of allegations’’. Said Mukhwaya

End.

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