April 30th 2017

Top Stories / National

Homa Bay resident files petition to probe Governor Awiti's UK university degree

He also says he would want to know whether governor Awiti studied his degree course in the named Victoria University of Manchester within the duration of period provided in his curriculum vitae and whether he actually graduated with a master’s degree or a diploma.

By Edith Kariukiekariuki@kenyafreepress.comWednesday, 12 Apr 2017 18:27 EAT

A photocopy of Mr Awiti's Masters degree.

A resident of Homa Bay County has launched a process to have Governor Cyprian Archelius Otieno Awiti disqualified from defending his seat, claiming the governor has no legitimate degree from a recognised university as required by law guiding the qualification of governorship candidates.

In a petition lodged with the Commission for Univerity Education (CUE) and copied to relevant government agencies including the Ministry of Education and Mr Awiti's party the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), the petitioner Evans Aseto says the governor does not meet the educational requirements for election as governor and should be disqualified.

In the petition which was officially received at ODM headquarters today, Mr Aseto wants the CUE to undertake a thorough examination on Mr Awiti's qualifcations, and he raises doubt about the legality of the Victoria Univeristy of Manchester in the UK where the governor says he obtained a Masters degree in education in December 1987.

From the look of documentation provided by the petitioner to the Kenya Free Press, which includes the governor's lower level educational qualifications upto a Diploma in Advanced Study in Technical Education from the said Victoria University of Manchester issued in July 1986, the petitioner has done a thorough research on allegations about Mr Awiti's qualifications which have flying around Homa Bay politics for several years now.

The petitioner is due to file a case at the High Court in Nairobi on Monday to force the institutions and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to undertake an investigation into the governor's academic history including the duration he took for his studies for the Masters degree programme at the said Victoria University of Manchester.

The university which the governor claims to have obtained his degree at the Victoria University of Manchester, no longer exists. The petitioner says the governor has not only deceived people including voters about his qualifications but has also violated the constitution in the Chapter Six that sets the standards for leadership and integrity.

The petition wants the institutions to determine whether, in accordance with Section 13 of the Leadership and Integrity Act 2015 that provides moral and ethical requirement of a public officer, the governor can honestly demonstrate that his conduct of public affairs in Homa Bay meets the test.

In the plea for CUE to undertake the authentification of Mr Awiti's degree, he cites Section 6 of the Universities Act which further provides for the detailed functions of the commission with its main core function. They include documentation, information service and public relations for higher education and training.

The petitioner says that through his evidence he is now asking the commission of high education together with the relevant government agencies to take his claims into consideration and carry out the mandate and verify or confirm the validity of the Master’s degree certificate in the management administration awarded to Mr Awiti by the Victoria University of Manchester.

He also says he would also want to know whether governor Awiti studied his degree course in the named Victoria University of Manchester within the duration of period provided in his curriculum vitae and whether he actually graduated with a master’s degree or a diploma. 

Mr Awiti, a former principal of the government-owned Railway Training Institute in Nairobi, was cleared in 2013 to contest the election using the same papers.

The petition by Mr Aseto comes just two days after another petitioner, Abdallah Juma, moved to court seeking to stop IEBC from clearing Mombasa governor Hassan Joho to contest the upcoming general elections saying that Joho does not meet the education requirement set out in the law.

Mr Juma claims that the degree which governor Joho is holding is "fake" and therefore does not qualify him to hold or vie for the office of governor of any county in Kenya.

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