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Sakaja degree row: Case set for Monday

By Kamau Muthoni - Jul 1st 2022

Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja. [David Gichuru, Standard]

High Court on Friday, July 1, declined to temporarily bar the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) from including Johnson Sakaja on the ballot for Nairobi’s governorship contest.

Justice Anthony Mrima instead directed that the case filed by Dennis Wahome be fast-tracked and heard on Monday.

The judge ordered the parties in the case to exchange their papers and file their replies before close of business Sunday in readiness for a hearing the following day.

“The request for conservatory order will affect other parties before they are accorded an opportunity to be heard and given that steps have already been taken for an extradited hearing for this matter hence orders shall not issue at this point,” said Justice Mrima.

Wahome has asked the court to temporarily block the commission from including Sakaja’s name on the ballot paper because his degree from Team University, Uganda is not authentic. He argued that his case would be rendered useless if CUE continued to print his name before the case is settled.

He had first challenged Sakaja’s academic credentials before the IEBC’s committee. The committee threw the case out arguing that the commission had no powers to determine whether Sakaja had a genuine degree or not.

Aggrieved by the decision, Wahome filed a case before Justice Mrima arguing that Sakaja has no qualifications to vie as a governor.

In the case, Wahome’s lawyer Njoki Mboche argued that the committee erred by finding that it had no powers to interrogate whether Sakaja had a degree or not.

According to her, there was no proof produced by the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) candidate to rebut the allegation that he did not graduate from the Ugandan university.

 “The impugned decision is fundamentally flawed in light of the fact that the fourth respondent (Sakaja) does not possess a university degree as required by section 22 of the Elections Act, hence is a legally and constitutionally unqualified person,” said Mboche.

According to her, the tribunal further erred finding that Sakaja had produced graduation ceremony photos and a graduation list.

The lawyer stated that the senator did not produce any photos in his reply and his graduation list was incomplete and irregular.

Wahome’s lawyer said the tribunal did not settle on which between the two was authentic.

“The graduation list by the fourth respondent includes the name of Nantongo Aidah as graduating with a bachelor of science in management yet the said Aidah Nantongo has publicly declared that she graduated with a bachelor of accounting and finance,” she said.

In the case, Sakaja urged the court to dismiss the case citing a separate ruling by the court ordering IEBC not to strike out his name from the ballot paper.

According to him, the orders would be conflicting with each other.

He also argued that he ought to be given a chance to tell his side of the story before the court decides on which side the justice scale will tilt to.

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