1 February 2013

Kenya: IEBC Blocks Five Governor Aspirants Over Degrees Query

Two gubernatorial candidates, TNA's Abdallah Mwaruwa from Mombasa and ODM's Jack Ranguma, faced a setback yesterday when their papers were rejected by the IEBC.

Transport minister Amos Kimunya was cleared to defend his Kipipiri parliamentary seat while his assistant minister Hassan Joho will be on the ballot of the race for Mombasa governor.

The Mombasa county returning officer Laban Mwadime Mwashighadi said Mwaruwa, a former managing director of the Kenya Ports Authority, did not follow due procedure as the academic certificates he presented to the Independence Electoral and Boundaries Commission had not been certified by the Commission for Higher Education.

Mwashighadi said concerns were also raised as Mwaruwa's documents indicated that he had done a diploma and then got a Masters' Degree from the University of Southampton without first acquiring a basic degree.

He said only the Commission for University Education (CUE) could determine whether or not to classify Mwaruwa as having acquired a degree to be able to meet the academic requirements that all gubernatorial candidates must be holders of a degree.

"According to our rules, if the documents are coming from outside the country, then the one agent we have in the country, the Commission for Higher Education or the Commission of University Education, has to authenticate and certify that the institution awarding the degree is recognised in that country and also in Kenya," said Mwashighadi.

A distraught Mwaruwa immediately flew to Nairobi to have his papers authenticated by the CHE. His running mate Obutu Osoro also faced a similar problem when he presented his degree which was awarded by a university in India. The two have until 4.30 pm today to present their papers to the IEBC.

In Kisumu, Ranguma was also asked to get the Commission of Higher Education to authenticate and certify the academic certificates awarded by several US universities. Ranguma had presented a certificate indicating he had an MBA awarded by the University of Illinois.

Kisumu county returning officer Dolly Kili however gave the go-ahead to Ranguma's running mate and Prime Minister Raila Odinga's sister Ruth.

Three Trans Nzoia gubernatorial candidates-- Joel Gesuka of TNA, Ford Kenya's Patrick Khaemba and New Ford Kenya's Kakai Bisau --were also turned away for the same reason.

Gesuka degree was awarded by a university in India which the CHE does not recognize. Khaemba and Bisau were turned away because they presented copies and not original documents.

The three also flew back to Nairobi to seek the CHE's certification before they return to present their papers today. The only candidate cleared for the race is Forestry minister Noah Wekesa who has been nominated by ODM.

Kimunya was given the go-ahead after the High Court dismissed a petition which had been filed by a voter--Ítanley Kihiko-- in which he alleged the minister was involved in malpracises during the party nominations.

The nomination of Joho and his running mate Hazel Katana had also been challenged in court by a voter Janet Ndago who accused the pair of using "unorthodox and fraudulent means" to pretend that they are holders of degrees from universities recognized in Kenya.

Janet Ndago who was represented by Kibe Mungai pleaded with the court to order the Kenya National Examinations Council to produce certified copies of Joho and Katana's Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education result slips.

She also sought for copies of transcripts from the University of Nairobi to prove the two had valid papers. Also cleared was Othaya parliamentary aspirant Mugambi Gichuki who had received the Saba Saba Asili nomination ticket after he failed to get the TNA certificate which was eventually given to Mary Wambui.

An Othaya voter, Michael Nderitu, sought to block the IEBC from clearing Gichuki claiming that the candidate was a registered TNA member by the time the deadline for the party nominations expired and he defected to Saba Saba Asili.

Wachira claimed Mugambi had forged the documents which he presented to the IEBC. However, Mugambi claimed he had ceased being a member of TNA and said the court had no jurisdiction to hear the complaint.

Judges David Majanja, Weldon Korir and George Odunga said they will on Tuesday next week, give their reasons for dismissing the cases against Kimunya, Joho and Mugambi.

The three judges however rejected a plea by former LSK chairman Okong'o Omogeni who is challenging the decision by the IEBC tribunal to declare his competitor Abuya Abuya as the ODM nominee for the Nyamira senate race.The court directed the IEBC tribunal to hear the dispute afresh.

The former LSK chairman has accused the tribunal of surpassing its mandate and declaring Abuya the ODM nominee even though he had been disqualified by the party.

Abuya had been given the go ahead by the tribunal to hand in his nomination to the IEBC. Yesterday, O'mogeni said the decision was wrong since Abuya has not paid the nomination fee as required by law. He also accused Abuya of failing to disclose his relation with a member of the tribunal.

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