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Lecturer Loses 6-Year Court Battle to be Addressed as Professor

  • A university lecturer has lost a six- year court case against a local institution which he wanted compelled to add the title ‘professor’ to his name.

    The court ruled that Charles Chunge of Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology was not qualified for the position of professor when he was hired in 2015.

    Judge Stephen Radido was dissatisfied with the don’s argument that the reference to him being a professor in the offer letter was sufficient to bestow him the position of Executive Dean, School of Medicine.

    “It was incumbent upon the claimant to satisfy the university during his interview in 2015 that he possessed the qualifications to be appointed as professor. It appears he did not. When he later raised the issue, an ad hoc committee was formed, and it established that he did not qualify,” reads the judgment.

    File image of a court gavel

    File image of a court gavel

    File

    Chunge said that the university had hired him with the promise to bestow him the title professor in 2015.

    According to the University Lecturer, on March 2017, the University administration wrote him a letter saying Chunge was interviewed for the dean post and not professorship.

    “The Vice-Chancellor wrote me an offer letter on July 27, 2015, where I was addressed as Professor Charles Chunge. However, on March 10, 2017, the university’s registrar wrote to me saying I was interviewed for the Dean post and not a professor, and that therefore the inclusion of the title professor in the offer letter was in error,” he told the court. 

    He added that the letter further advised him to make an application for the position of professor or associate professor if he so wished.

    The lecturer responded to the letter indicating that he had the title long before he joined the university. However, the registrar requested for proof to back his claims.

    Chunge turned to the University Academic Staff Union for intervention where the union compelled the university to constitute a committee to review his status and evaluate if he met the qualifications for professorship.

    The committee ruled that Chunge was only qualified to be a senior lecturer and not associate professor.

    He then went to court to challenge the university claiming the school’s administration was attempting to tamper with his contract of employment midway.

    COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli in a meeting with Masinde Muliro University officials on October 17, 2020

    COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli in a meeting with Masinde Muliro University officials on October 17, 2020

    File

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