6 January 2013

Uganda: Mbidde, Mabikke Defend Their Law Papers

East African Legislative Assembly member Fred Mukasa Mbidde and former Makindye East MP Michael Mabikke have dismissed a Law Development Centre (LDC) report challenging their diplomas.

The duo is among at least 15 lawyers whose qualifications are now doubted. But they have threatened to sue whoever propagates the allegations which they refer to as defamatory. Quoting an official investigation report, The Observer reported on Friday that both Mbidde and Mabikke risked losing their practising certificates after their final examination results were found to have been fraudulently altered, enabling them to graduate.

Flanked by their lawyer Hassan Kamba, the politicians held a press conference at Mbidde's chambers on Friday, at which they attacked The Observer.

"I wonder why a credible paper like The Observer accepts to be used by self-seeking politicians, some from State House, and a few disgruntled lawyers at such a time when I have put president Museveni on notice to impeach him from being Chairperson of the East African Community Heads of State Summit over mishandling of the death of Butaleja MP Cerinah Nebanda," Mbidde said.

Mbidde added that he would continue with the push for the impeachment when the East African Legislative Assembly convenes in Bujumbura on January 21, 2013. Turning to his LDC diploma, Mbidde displayed his academic certificates, which he insisted were genuine.

"It is at my age now that Museveni, who could not even afford to step in a Law classroom, caused havoc to this country, and I think, I can do more than he did if somebody plays around with both my qualification and career," he said.

Mabikke, who is the opposition Social Democratic Party President, asked the public to disregard The Observer story, although there is an ongoing probe into the matter.

"There is no lawyer worthy the name who can append his signature on a fake diploma," he said. "Even if both internal and external examiners made any mistake in their duties either under the influence of alcohol which was not the case, ours was to study and pass."

Mabikke said he was not asked to defend himself before the forensic audit was published.

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