Uganda now probes Johnson Sakaja's degree

Nairobi Governor candidate Johnson Sakaja at the Milimani Courts.

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo I Nation Media Group

The Ugandan government has begun investigating the degree certificate awarded by Team University to Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja.

According to Ugandan newspaper New Vision, the National Council of Higher Education (NCHE) has confirmed that it was investigating Team University over Mr Sakaja’s degree and would share a complete report soon. NCHE Executive Director Mary Okwakol, said the institution was at an advanced stage of the investigations.

“Let us finalise our investigations and everyone will know. We cannot share anything now until the investigations are complete,” Prof Okwakol said.

The investigations follow a letter from the Director of Criminal Investigation (DCI) to Uganda’s Minister of Education and Sports Janet Museveni, who is also the first lady, requesting the Ugandan government to investigate the awarding of the degree to Mr Sakaja.

The DCI began investigations into the authenticity of the degree after suspecting that the degree certificate might have been awarded fraudulently. Last week, Kenya’s Commission for University Education (CUE) withdrew a letter revoking recognition of Mr Sakaja’s degree certificate.

This was after Mr Sakaja filed a contempt of court case accusing it of failing to withdraw the letter.

CUE had initially demanded Mr Sakaja provide his Team University student’s identification card, admission letter, a copy of graduation list, a graduation photo and any other evidence, showing that he attended classes and graduated at the university.

Not among students who graduated

The New Vision has reported that, even though Team University did not respond to queries on the authenticity of Mr Sakaja’s degree, an interview with a former student revealed that Mr Sakaja was not among students who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Management degree in October 2016 when he claims to have graduated.

“We didn’t have online studies at the time and, when we graduated on October 21, 2016, we were only six students. I know of them because we were classmates,” said the student as reported by New Vision.  Mr Sakaja has defended his degree certificate as genuine and accused President Uhuru Kenyatta and the government of fighting him.

According to an earlier letter purported to be from the university to the CUE, Mr Sakaja pursued a Bachelors Science in Management (External) degree and graduated on October 21, 2016.

The university also certified his degree certificate and transcripts as genuine. The confirmation was also supported by the NCHE and CUE at the time, before CUE revoked the recognition, after the degree certificate’s authenticity was questioned.

UDA candidate

Mr Sakaja has since been cleared by the Independent and Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to run for the Nairobi governorship under the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party in the Kenya Kwanza Alliance.

The High Court also suspended a case challenging his academic papers and blocked the IEBC from striking his name off the list of candidates.

On Tuesday, a voter filed a fresh petition at the High Court in Milimani seeking to bar IEBC from printing ballot papers for the Nairobi gubernatorial race until the suit is concluded.

Mr Dennis Wahome, who also wants the case certified urgent and heard expeditiously, maintains that the senator is not eligible to vie for governor. He alleges that the degree certificate from Team University is bogus.