July 21st 2017

Entertainment / What’s Trending

Uhuru snide on Mudavadi revives old question about his own education

Hundreds of Facebook and Twitter comments have trended throughout the day in which journalists, human rights activists and bloggers are calling upon the president to state clearly when he was in school and what level of education he achieved.

By Free Press Reporternewsdesk@kenyafreepress.comSunday, 15 Jan 2017 15:33 EAT

President Kenyatta addressing Kajiado County leaders at State House yesteday. (Photo: Courtesy/President's Facebook page).

As has become the norm this campaign season, politicians are exchanging rhrotical fire. The latest is a nasty swipe, or so he thought, that President Uhuru Kenyatta took a swipe at Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi, who said earlier in the week that the Jubilee administration had "completely failed" to govern the country. The ANC leader spoke at the Bomas of Kenya on Wednesday.

Yesterday, the president responded by accusing the opposition leader of being a laggard who had done nothing memorable for Kenyans. "Musalia Mudavadi joined Government as a Cabinet minister when I was still in school. He was plucked from school and appointed a minister, and to date he cannot show what he did for Kenyans," the president said at State House, Nairobi, where he was meeting Jubilee Party officials and aspirants from Kajiado County.

The president also disparaged Mr Mudavadi's allies in the opposition, Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka. "Kalonzo Musyoka has been in government for long yet he cannot point at any project he ever initiated. Raila Odinga, who had half the government as Prime Minister, did nothing for the people of Kenya", he said in widely televised remarks.

However, the snide against Mr Mudavadi, who joined politics and government in 1989, caused a furore in the blogosphere, with Kenyans demanding that the president should release his academic records for Kenyans to judge whether he was saying the truth. Hundreds of Facebook and Twitter comments have trended throughout the day in which journalists, human rights activists and bloggers are calling upon the president to state clearly when he was in school and what level of education he achieved.

Before a background on the issue of Uhuru's education, here are some of Facebook posts that generated intense discussion on the subject-

Hon Jim Bonnie
2 hrs ·

[So at 28 years of age, President Kenyatta was still struggling with a diploma course at Amherst college?]

James Wachai
15 hrs ·

[Haha! Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta (55) was still in school when Musalia Mudavadi (56) was in the government.]

Wahome Thuku
3 hrs

[Heading for a meeting. Till then someone tell me the exact YEAR (not even day or month) that Uhuru graduated from University. Don't try to explain him out of it, he doesn't need your sycophancy. Just state 19....and remember it must be after 1989.]

Philip Etale
3 hrs ·

["I was still in school when Musalia Mudavadi was Moi's Cabinet Minister," #President Uhuru Kenyatta.

FACT: Musalia Mudavadi first joined Parliament in 1989 and appointed Supplies and Marketing Minister. Then Uhuru was 28 yrs old. OK... #NoTimeForLies]

Omogambi Nyachae
5 hrs ·

[“Musalia Mudavadi joined Government as a Cabinet minister when I was still in school. He was plucked from school and appointed a minister, and to date he cannot show what he did for Kenyans."

Now, if you & Mudavadi are agemates (separated by months)...YET he completed college in 1984 then got plucked to serve in gov't in 1989 (which negates your argument that he was plucked from school), what were you STILL doing in school since you've no postgraduate education? Re-re-repeating courses I guess.]]

While it is very well known that the president attended Amherst College, a top university in the U.S. state of Massachussets, in the early 80s, whether and when he completed his studies has been a mystery since his first presidential run in 2002. During that time, then MP for Nyakach Peter Odoyo, who was in Massachussets at the same time with the president, claimed that he had a dossier on Uhuru’s education that would finish the Kanu presidential candidate.

At many opposition rallies, Mr Odoyo threatened to reveal what he knew by asking the crowds. “Nitoboe? (Should I reveal?)” Uhuru lost that year’s election to opposition candidate Mwai Kibaki, who was running on the NARC ticket.

However, in the 2013 election, the question surfaced afresh, given the provision in the new constitution that presidential candidates must have university degrees. The electoral commission IEBC refused to take questions on the qualifications of the presidential candidates.

The issue remained current even after the election, when the Daily Nation’s correspondent in the USA, Kevin Kelly, reported that Amherst College had refused to make a statement on Uhuru’s election. Universities the world over are normally very proud to associate with their graduates. “Asked on Monday whether Amherst College wished to congratulate its alumnus on his achievement, spokesman Peter Rooney told the Nation that the college would have no comment,” Mr Kelly reported.

Could it be that the president was still at Amherst College in 1989? Only the president can tell. What is not in doubt is that, knowing how controversial the subject of his qualifications is, it was needless for him to reintroduce it in the national discussion.

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