Hopes of Senator Johnson Sakaja becoming Nairobi governor may end if a petition filed by one Dennis Wahome questioning the authenticity of his academic papers is upheld.
Yesterday, a visibly unsettled Sakaja paced along the corridors of Milimani Law Courts as four cases filed against him were placed before Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Dispute Resolution Committee.
His running mate, James Muchiri, sat pensively in the courtroom where the IEBC committee is sitting, waiting on the matters to be called.
Sakaja, who goes by the moniker Super Senator, is the latest politician to be caught up in a storm over academic papers he presented to IEBC to clear him to run for the city seat.
It also emerged that Kang’ata Irungu of Murang’a may not be out of the woods yet after a voter challenged his belated substitution of a running mate.
The previous running mate was found not to have resigned from public office within the statutorily decreed time.
The petitioner argues that by the time he appointed Stephen Mburu as his running mate, the deadline for doing that had already elapsed. Mburu was replaced by Dr Winnie Mwangi.
In the petition against Sakaja, Wahome says: “It is very clear that Nairobi governor candidate Johnson Sakaja has not met the statutory requirements to contest for the seat since it is not clear how he obtained a degree in a foreign country while fully serving as an MP in Kenya.”
The petitioner claims that “fake and fraudulent degree” violate the Leadership and Integrity Act and Articles 73 and 75 of the Constitution of Kenya.
Sakaja is yet to respond to the allegations and was cleared by the IEBC on June 7 having presented a Bachelor of Science in Management Degree certificate from Team University in Uganda.
He had previously said he graduated from the University of Nairobi with Actuarial Science degree.
The affidavit filed by Wahome states that while contesting for the Nairobi Senate seat in 2017, Sakaja had indicated that he had graduated from the University of Nairobi, which has since said he was still their student and had not completed his studies.
While submitting his papers for nomination last week, Sakaja dismissed claims that he did not have the required academic qualifications. He said his rivals were feeling the heat of his popularity and were resorting to spreading propaganda.
The Commission for University Education said Sakaja provided a Bachelor of Science in Management degree certificate from Team University in Uganda which was confirmed by the institution to be genuine, paving way for his clearance.
Records at the University of Nairobi show that Sakaja was admitted to study Actuarial Science at the institution in 2003.
[Reporting by Edwin Nyarangi, Winfrey Owino and Grace Ng’ang’a]