Machakos voters file case to block Wavinya from ballot over degree question

Machakos County Governor candidate Wavinya Ndeti.

Machakos County Governor candidate Wavinya Ndeti.

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

Two Machakos voters, who sued former Transport chief administrative secretary Wavinya Ndeti challenging validity of her university degree acquired from Britain, have escalated the battle to the High Court in a second attempt to lock her out of the Machakos governorship contest.

In the lawsuit that was yesterday certified urgent by Justice George Odunga, Mr Gideon Ngewa Kenya and Mr Kisilu Mutisya, want court to bar Ms Ndeti from vying for the Machakos governorship seat on grounds that she is not qualified.

They also want court to overturn decision of the electoral commission’s dispute resolution committee to dismiss their complaint against the candidature of Ms Ndeti and her academic credentials, which they claimed are fake.

Justice Odunga allowed them to file an application for judicial review seeking an order of prohibition restraining the Commission for University Education (CUE) from recognizing the academic qualifications of Ms Ndeti.

The judge also gave them authority to seek for an order compelling the director of public prosecutions to order for investigations and determine the authenticity and validity of Ms Ndeti’s academic certificates.

According to the two voters, the degree certificates held by Ms Ndeti and which were presented to the electoral commission during clearance of her gubernatorial bid are bogus. They said the Wiper Democratic Party movement candidate is not eligible to be a governor.

Court papers indicate that on June 15, 2022 the two voters wrote to the Commission for University Education (CUE) urging it to investigate Ms Ndeti’s university degree certificates and recall the recognition letters dated May 25, 2022.

“To date, CUE has failed, refused and declined to respond to the applicants,” reads the court papers.

The gist of their fight against Ms Ndeti’s candidature are questions on how she got a Master’s degree before a diploma and bachelor’s degree.

They said Ms Ndeti acquired a Master’s degree in 1992, a diploma in 1988 and the Bachelor’s degree in 1995.

In addition, that her education certificates acquired from schools the United Kingdom are questionable because she acquired them under different names –Wavinya Ndeti, Wavinya Oduwole and Petti Wavinya Oduwole.

“Despite Ms Ndeti’s clearance, she is not a holder of a degree recognized in Kenya because on August 16, 1988, she acquired a Diploma in Computer System Designs from the Association of Computer professionals,” they said.

Thereafter, they said, on November 9, 1989 she acquired an Advanced Diploma in Computer Studies from the Association of Computer professionals, “which is a proper pathway to follow”.

“Surprisingly, between September 1989 to July 1990, Ms Ndeti studied as a full-time student at South Bank University now London South Bank University and was awarded a Graduate Diploma in Computer Science on July 12, 1990 without having completed a first degree. A Graduate Diploma is a short course taken after completion of a first degree,” they claim.

Additionally, that “in a sudden turn of events, on November 6, 1992 she obtained a Master’s of Science Degree in Business systems analysis and design from the City University, London using the 1990 Diploma in Computer Science”.

Court papers further indicate that on July 18, 1995 she obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Computing Studies from South Bank University London as Wavinya Oduwole.

“Undertaking a Bachelor’s degree after being awarded a master’s degree in a closely related subject is impracticable and against the standards set out to equate degree in Kenya. Later, on January 25, 1996 and July 26, 1996, she claims to have obtained two Master’s degree in Marketing and Strategic information Designs from Heriot-Watt University as Petti Wavinya Oduwole,” says the claimants.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) dispute resolutions committee had on June 19, 2022 dismissed the voters’ complaint on grounds that it had lacked powers to handle the matter.

The committee ruled that the allegations raised against Ms Ndeti only disclosed suspicion as to the authenticity of her academic qualifications.

But the two voters told court that their complaint was valid because CUE failed to recognize and equate the academic qualifications of Ms Ndeti before issuing her with letters recognizing her Master’s and Degree certificates.

“The manner in which IEBC and CUE have made decisions has made us to question the integrity of our independent commissions which have cleared a candidate who has problematic and questionable academic qualifications,” said the pair.

The case will be mentioned today (June 30) for further orders.