Regional Catholic University in Kenya Staff Lauded for Bearing with "painful decisions"

Some graduates during the Convocation ceremony of the academic year 2020/2021 at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA), Nairobi, Kenya.
Credit: Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA)

The leadership of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) has lauded the personnel engaged at the Kenya-based institution for bearing with the “painful decisions” of downward salary adjustments or even unpaid leave taken amid COVID-19 challenges.

“I would like to personally thank our staff for standing with the university in spite of the measures being taken to mitigate effects of on-site learning suspension, which directly affects them,” CUEA Rector and Vice Chancellor (VC), Fr. Stephen Mbugua said Thursday, September 24 during the institution’s Convocation ceremony of the academic year 2020/2021.

The VC added, “In the last few months in order to keep the university operational, we were forced to make painful decisions that led to our staff salaries temporarily cut by a percentage or in entirety.”

The salary adjustments, the Professor of Psychology said, were occasioned by the government’s decision to suspend on-site learning in Kenya as a measure to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

The government’s decision “substantially negatively affected our cash flow,” Fr. Stephen said during the virtual event at the institution's main campus in Nairobi, Kenya. 

He recalled requesting the University’s Council to consider taking a loan to sustain the staff but his appeal was not favorably considered due to the status of the institution’s debt portfolio, the Kenyan Cleric disclosed.

As a way forward, the VC assured CUEA family that the management of the 36-year-old institution has done everything to meet the government’s COVID-19 requirements to allow the resumption of on-site learning and a return to normalcy.

The resumption of on-site learning “will enable the university to recover and have salaries of all staff restored,” the Cleric of Kenya’s Nakuru Diocese said. 

“It is the over 20 years of Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment that made him strong; it is the many years of Mahatma Gandhi’s suffering that made him strong; it is these years of suffering that will make me and you strong,” the VC said.

Speaking at the same event, Bishop James Maria Wainaina who was the guest of honor acknowledged sacrifices on the part of CUEA’s personnel noting that since the decision to revise their salaries downwards was made, “they have taken up this setback as their cross and continue(d) being loyal to CUEA” instead of fighting the management.

“We the Bishops are highly touched by the sacrifice of CUEA staff that you have made to keep the university afloat,” the Bishop who also presided over the Convocation Mass said and added, “You are in our prayers and we will not forget your gesture.”

The Local Ordinary of Kenya’s Murang’a Diocese asked CUEA faculty members not to forget that the students are watching and learning from them on how to operate amid the pandemic, reminding them “this is the time to radiate your Catholic identity.”

“At such times, some of you may be tempted to give in to actions that question your integrity,” Bishop Wainaina said and pleaded, “Do not give in to these temptations. Stay strong and God will reward you.”

To CUEA students, the 63-year-old Kenyan Prelate said, “Look to your lecturers and staff for guidance, listen to them, emulate their good deeds and take advantage of them when you are here to learn as much as you can.”

“Learn to have your faith guided by CUEA’s core values and always keep God in your hearts,” he further said and encouraged all to “always pray, work hard and aspire to live how Jesus  taught us; consecrate the society in the truth.” 

During the Convocation ceremony attended by a limited number of people in line with COVID-19 protocols, 36 bright but needy students were awarded with the Cardinal Otunga Memorial Scholarship fund 2020 to enable them pursue their studies at the institution.

Established on September 29, 2005, the fund is in honor of Servant of God Maurice Michael Cardinal Otunga, one of the founding fathers and trustees of the university.

Since its inception 15 years ago, the scholarship fund has benefited approximately 300 bright but needy students, according to the university’s VC.

“I know of a student who sells sweet potatoes and arrowroots; I know a student who sells second hand clothes to meet their own academic needs. We have made them move on with their education,” CUEA VC, Fr. Stephen said referencing some of the beneficiaries of Cardinal Otunga Memorial Scholarship fund.

He added, “CUEA is an institution of mercy, an institution that reaches out to those in need and an institution that God inspires to the identity of the Catholic faith and tradition.”

Established in 1984 by the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA), CUEA strives to be a world class University producing transformative leaders for Church and Society.


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