Wajir Governor escapes questioning over academic papers

Wajir Governor Muhamad Abdi Mahamud at a past press briefing. Supreme Court blocked his rival from questioning him about his academic papers. [File, Standard]
The Supreme Court will not allow Wajir Governor Muhamad Abdi Mahamud's rival to cross-examine him on his academic certificates in determining whether he qualified to vie for the seat.

Former governor, Ahmed Abdullahi, who is challenging Mahamud's election in 2017, had asked court to allow him question the respondent on the certificates from Kampala International University.

However, the court said it will rely on documents the two filed in court as well as its own scrutiny of the certificates.

The Supreme Court allowed Mahamud to file additional evidence to prove he possessed a university degree.

This was the first time the court allowed parties in an election petition to file additional evidence outside permitted timelines.

This was after it found the High Court and the Court of Appeal to have erred by denying the governor a chance to prove his academic qualifications to contest the seat.

Mahamud's lawyers Fred Ngatia and Tom Macharia said he was not given enough time to provide his evidence.

University graduate

They said the case was not premised on the votes he garnered but his academic papers, hence it was necessary for him to be allowed to prove he is a university graduate.

The university also filed affidavits, before a bench of Chief Justice David Maraga and justices Mohamed Ibrahim, Jackton Ojwang, Njoki Ndung’u, Smokin Ibrahim and Isaac Lenaola, indicating Mahamud was their student.

"We directed that all parties ought to adduce their additional evidence by way of affidavits and responses to any such evidence to be by way of affidavit too. The application by the applicants to cross examine all the deponents of the affidavits bearing additional evidence is hereby disallowed,” the judges ruled.

Mahamud said the university had also confirmed documents at the centre of the case to be genuine.

The Governor said Ssegawa Hamza, the registrar at Kampala International University, had confirmed in court documents he was their student, hence qualified to vie for the governor’s position.

Mahamud claimed he has another affidavit by the university’s registrar, Evans Kerosi, confirming he studied there between 2005 and 2011.

But Abdullahi presented a letter from assistant academic registrar Timothy Sato showing Mahamud’s name was not in admission records.

"No records with the accounts office indicate he ever paid any amount of university fee,” said the letter.

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Wajir Governor Muhamad Abdi MahamudAhmed AbdullahiElection Petition