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Senator Johnson Sakaja sues CUE over revocation of degree from Team University

Senator Johnson Sakaja. [Denish Ochieng, Standard] 

Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja has filed a case before the High Court challenging revocation of his degree from Ugandan University, Team.

Mr Sakaja argues that Commission on University Education (CUE) revoked the degree for political purposes and in mischief.

He now wants the court to quash the commission’s decision and bar the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) from striking him out of the list of governor aspirants.

His battle for clearance deepened after the universities regulator opted to reverse its earlier decision to recognise his papers.

This in turn further cast doubt on his chances to be on the ballot as he battles petitioners who are also challenging his academic credentials before the IEBC.

According to the United Democratic Alliance’s (UDA) Nairobi governor candidate, CUE cleared him on June 6 and issued a confirmation letter.

The commission CEO Mwendwa Ntaragi wrote to the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) in Uganda seeking information whether the senator had enrolled for a degree.

NCHE boss Mary Okwakol wrote back stating that Team University holds a provisional license to operate as a private university and confirmed that the senator graduated in 2016. 

Following the response, court papers filed by Mr Sakaja indicate that the commission recognised his qualification.

He argues that CUE issued further confirmation that he had a genuine document to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission seven days later.

Mr Sakaja's lawyer Elias Mutuma argued that the revocation of his degree was not supported by law and was unfair.

“It is extremely outrageous, irrational and preposterous for the respondents to purport to revoke the recognition of the applicant’s degree when admittedly they are still undertaking investigations. By all logical standards revocation cannot proceed revocation,” argued Mr Mutuma.

CUE yesterday revoked its recognition of Mr Sakaja’s degree stating that it had received information and material about the authenticity of the degree that he presented from Team University.

“Consequently, in accordance with the CUE recognition procedures, we hereby revoke the recognition of your degree – Bachelor of Science in Management (external) from the aforementioned university,” wrote CUE Chairman Chacha Nyaigotti.

But Mr Sakaja argues that the decision was rushed as the issue is still under investigation. At the same time, he claimed that the decision was to favour his political rivals.

In his supporting affidavit, the senator claimed that he enrolled for a degree in Team University and graduated on October 21, 2016.

Mr Sakaja further argued that had CUE investigated the issue, it would have arrived at a different conclusion.

He maintains that the commission has no powers to revoke or recall a degree issued from a recognized university.

“The respondent has no mandate nor an obligation to revoke or recall a degree issued by a recognized university or institution on whatever grounds, leave alone purportedly revoking the recognition of the degree therein,” said Mr Sakaja.

He is of the view that it is either the courts or the university offering the degree that can cancel or recall a degree.