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CUE boss Mwendwa Ntaragwi explains why he revoked Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja's degree

Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja. [File, Standard]

The Commission for University Education (CUE) has highlighted four major reasons why it has revoked Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja’s degree from Ugandan-based Team University.

Sakaja has been faced with fraud allegations after the degree certificate he presented before the electoral commission for clearance to run for Nairobi Governor was questioned publicly.

This was after inconsistencies emerged when a Youtube video he shot in 2020 resurfaced online and went viral. In the video, he had denied ever getting an education outside the country.

The CUE chief executive Mwendwa Ntaragwi has written to the Independent and Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman, informing him of the revocation.

In the letter, dated June 29, Ntaragwi has revealed that the National Council for Higher Education in Uganda had not authorised Team University to offer the course in the certificate presented by Sakaja for IEBC clearance.

“The documents submitted to the Commission as a degree certificate from Team University bore the name Bachelor of Science in Management (External). Team University was not at the said period, accredited by NCHE to offer such a degree,” a snippet of the letter read.

“Team University is accredited to offer a Bachelor of Science in Management and not Bachelor of Science Management (external). Further, the communication from NCHE communicated that Team University had confirmed that Sakaja enrolled for Bachelor of Science Management. No reference was made to Bachelor of Science Management (external),”

The commission has also attributed its decision to failure on the part of Sakaja, Team University and NCHE.

Ntaragwi says the three parties failed to give evidence proving that the governor hopeful pursued his studies and got a degree in Bachelor of Science Management (External).

“In Sakaja’s official declaration in 2017, while vying for the position of senator, he indicated that the only higher education qualification he held was a degree from the University of Nairobi. There was no declaration made pertaining to Team University which he now states that he had obtained a degree from in 2016,”

The commission has also alleged that despite communicating to the senator via two letters, they had not received any response.

“He disregarded, refused and or ignored both the request to provide information and the opportunity to exercise his right to be heard during the further investigation,” Ntaragwi’s letter read in part.

While probing the fraud allegations facing the lawmaker, CUE had asked him to furnish them with basic documents to prove he is an alumnus of Team University.

CUE had asked Sakaja to provide among others; A letter of admission from the university, a valid student ID, transcripts, evidence of course units taken, a graduation booklet with his name on it, and a photo of him in his graduation gown.

“The Commission received complaints from members of the public and civil society casting doubts on the authenticity of the degree certificate submitted to CUE by Sakaja.  The gravity of the matters raised, made the Commission revoke its decision to recognize the degree qualification in Kenya pending further investigations in liaison with other relevant investigative agencies,” CUE chairperson Nyaigotti Chacha said at the time.

The IEBC cleared Sakaja to run for the county’s top seat after dismissing disputes about the validity of his academic credentials.

For one to run for Governor or Presidency, a valid degree from a recognized institution is a mandatory requirement.

While dismissing the disputes, the IEBC Dispute Resolution Committee said that it lacks the capacity to interrogate the validity of academic papers presented by aspirants for clearance.

Sakaja is the Nairobi Governor for the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party in the Kenya Kwanza Alliance.