NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 24 – Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi says the ministry will work with IEBC in authenticating academic credentials of political aspirants participating in the August elections.
Speaking during a press conference on Friday, Matiangi explained that a team will next week be set up to scrutinse the academic papers of candidates to ensure they are genuine.
He further indicated that the ministry will also liaise with the police and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to ensure action is taken against candidates presenting fake papers.
“We are going to put forth a team that will be available to you on a 24/7 basis to assist you to process whatever credentials you need to authenticate,” he said.
“And where we find documents that are not genuine, we shall not only tell you that they are fake but we will immediately also liaise with the Criminal Investigations Department because those people who will be presenting them are essentially fraudulent.”
He stated that should any candidate go to court, they will abide by the decision.
“We are a rule of law government. We respect the law and the Judiciary. The decisions that will be made by the Judiciary on this matter will be binding and we pledge to respect them. It is not as if we have an option,” he said.
He emphasized the need for all Kenyans to live by the rule of law if they expected it in return.
“If we want to govern on the basis of the law, we have to live by the law. The decision that will be made by the Judiciary will be absolutely respected,” he said.
He also stressed the need not to politicize the matter.
“We have unnecessarily and unduly politicized the issue of credentials in our country. Why would you need to go to court for a judge to determine whether or not you went to school,” he said.
Matiangi assured that only candidates with legitimate educational backgrounds will stand at the ballot in this year’s polls.
“In cases where somebody decides that they are aggrieved and go to court where a decision is made, we will of course submit to the court what we have and it will be upon the court to decide and once it makes a decision we will bound by the ourt’s decision.”
IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati stated that the process will be seeking to enforce chapter six of the constitution on leadership and integrity.
“Among our key State agencies that we require is the Ministry of Education for purposes of verifying the degrees we expect from some of the cadre of candidates,” he said.
He stated that the electoral body will be working very closely with the Education Ministry so that the verification process can be thorough.
“We have discussed the way forward and eventually we shall have a representative from the ministry together with other State agencies who will be based at IEBC for purposes of now verifying all the documents required for candidates who want to now present themselves for election,” he said.
“It is part of our outreach activities for purposes of enforcing Chapter Six of the Constitution. IEBC cannot do it alone. We are working closely with the State and Non State Agencies.”
He welcomed the support of the Education Ministry saying it will enable the body to conduct its work properly.
“We as a Commission realize that we need other State and non-State agencies’ for purposes of ensuring that the qualifications of candidates are verified. If you bring documents to us as IEBC for example degrees, we shall not be able to know whether they are genuine or not,” he stated.
The announcement follows the publishing of qualifications and requirements for nominations of candidates for the different elective posts.
In the conditions advertised in the local dailies, those seeking to be President must be Kenyan citizens and must not have abused public office in addition to being a person of sound mind.
Individuals seeking to run for President, Deputy President, County Governor, or Deputy County Governor are required by the Election Act to possess a degree from a recognised university.
MP and MCA aspirants must hold post-secondary school qualifications.
The working committee will be based at the commission’s Anniversary Towers headquarters in Nairobi.
Top politicians currently in public office including Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and MPs Oscar Sudi and Ferdinand Waititu have had their qualifications questioned in the recent past.