Student sues Kenyatta University for suspending him over social media post

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A Kenyatta University Student has moved to court seeking to quash the decision by the Registrar of Academics delivered on 1st November 2017 suspending him from studying at the University and participating in the upcoming KUSA elections.

David Kebaso wants the court to grant him leave to apply for Judicial Review and such leave to operate as stay of the decision to suspend him and also bar him from contesting in the upcoming Kenyatta University Students Association (KUSA).

Kebaso who was vying as KUSA Chairperson was banned from accessing the University premises during the suspension period pending his appearance before the Student Disciplinary Committee (SDC).

In a certificate of urgency, the applicant who was suspended after posting an ‘inappropriate’ post on social media argues that the cited regulation of Kenyatta University social media policy part 3.2 (a) does not exist and is therefore unknown to the applicant and to the court.

Kebaso says that he has been suspended without due procedure pending hearing contrary to the General Rules and Regulations governing student conduct disciplinary procedure as provided in the student information handbook (2017-2022) section 5.3.

He claims that the section requires that a student alleged to have breached the rules and regulations governing their conduct be summoned to appear before the students’ disciplinary committee where they shall be given an opportunity to be heard before any action is taken.

The applicant argues that the Registrar acted in excess of his powers by arrogating to himself the powers of the SDC and proceeding to individually and singularly suspend him without the process or any instructions from the SDC warranting the intervention of the court pursuant to section 7 (2) (a) of Fair Administration Act.

Through lawyer Morara Omoke, the student states that the allegations are out of malice and in bad faith channeled towards temporary blocking him from contesting as a candidate for the position of chairperson in the student governing council of KUSA.

He further claims that the letter of suspension does not disclose any intended date of hearing or timeline within which the disciplinary committee might hear his case which exposes him to severe damage to his academics.

The student has a pending petition in court against the respondents to be heard on 4th December 2017 challenging the constitutionality of specific articles of the reviewed KUSA constitution and has received several threats on diverse occasions by Senior University officers regarding the case.

KUSA Electoral Commission has already disqualified the applicant solely on the basis of article 32 (a) of the KUSA constitution which states “a candidate shall be disqualified if he has ever been suspended from the university and the suspension was note revoked.

He says that if the intervention of the court is not sought, he shall suffer irreparable damage to his academic status and candidature in the election.

Kenyatta University (KU), Administrative and academic head of the university, Registrar-Academics and KUSA Electoral Commission have been named as respondents.