Court wants Election Act ammended
11 September 2013, 13:58
Nyeri - The Nyeri High Court wants the Election Act amended to avoid incidents where politicians assumed public office through fraudulent qualifications.
Judge James Wakiaga said the amendments would culminate in individuals who aspire for positions requiring a university degree to seek verification of papers at least three months before nomination.
“I would recommend to the Attorney General to introduce an amendment to the Election Act to section 22(1) by inserting the words holder of a “valid” degree and in regulation 47(2) by adding a “candidate” shall be required to seek authentication of the certificate issued by that body at least three months before the date of nomination,” Wakiaga said in a ruling of a petition filed against Nyeri Governor, Nderitu Gachagua.
The suggestion follows the furore surrounding Thuo Mathenge, the petitioner, who reportedly obtained a degree certificate.
Wakiaga directed the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) to order an investigation.
“If any criminal offence was committed in respect thereof either by Mathenge or any other person including Prof Solomon Wokabi, the Vice Chancellor of Fairland University-Uganda, and appropriate legal prosecution should be instituted against the same,” noted Waikaga.
The judge noted that the Commission for University Education had concluded that from the evidence tendered before the court by Gachagua, Mathenge did not attend classes at Fairland University and the degree certificate purportedly awarded to him was not valid.
Evidence given in court by John Mwenje Murage, a Senior Assistant Commission Secretary at CUE, indicated that even if it was valid, the same could not be equated with the Kenyan degree.
But Wakiaga declined to make a ruling on whether Mathenge was academically qualified, and instead ordered the DPP to conduct thorough investigations into his degree.
“In view of the order herein and in the interest of the rules of natural justice, I decline to make a finding at this stage whether Mathenge committed any election offence,” said the Judge.
In a press conference after the ruling, Mathenge castigated the judge over what he termed “personal attacks”.
Mathenge, who ran the March 4 gubernatorial election on a Saba Asili ticket, said he would appeal against the ruling, which upheld Gachagua’s election.
- CAJ News