Inside Politics

Ngatia in the eye of a storm over degree

Wednesday, April 13th, 2022 10:33 | By
Businessman Richard Ngatia. PHOTO/File

Jubilee aspirant for the Nairobi governorship Richard Ngatia may be forced to defend himself over queries touching on his academic credentials.

A citizen has filed a petition with the Jubilee Party questioning the eligibility of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry official to contest for the city county’s top seat.

George Mwanzia, who claimed to be a member of the governing party, has poked holes in the businessman’s qualification in the contest for the seat on grounds he holds dubious academic credentials. He wants Ngatia barred from taking part in the party primaries, a move that could injure his political ambitions.

Mwanzia, in a petition dubbed “complaint on qualifications of Richard Ngatia’s academic qualification” filed on his behalf by Eric Kaburu of Gitau & Kaburu Advocates and received by the party on March 18, maintains the billionaire does not have a legitimate degree certificate, which is a mandatory requirement for governors.

“Article 193 of the Constitution, as read together with Section 22 (c) of the Elections Act, No 24 of 2011, places mandatory conditions for candidates of governor and deputy governor to hold a degree from a university recognised by Kenya. That our client verily believes that the said Richard Ngatia does not meet the educational qualifications stipulated in law,” says the petition.

“Richard Ngatia does not hold a degree from a university recognised in Kenya. Therefore, he should not be allowed to participate in the Jubilee party nominations exercise for Nairobi City County gubernatorial position,” reads Mwanzia’s petition sent to the party’s Executive Director.

Mere allegations

Yesterday, Jubilee party Secretary General Jeremiah Kioni, without appearing to discuss Ngatia’s case, said such petitions would be committed before the National Elections Board and other government agencies if need be.

According to Kioni, the petitioner questioning the eligibility of their aspirants will have to bear the burden of proving the claims, stressing that the party will not accept its aspirants to be embarrassed through mere allegations.    

“If the petition has been made, then it must go before our National Elections Board. At the preliminary level, we have checked on the requirements of all our aspirants but where issues may arise, we will take it to the next level for authentication. For example, if it is about fingerprints, it is for the police to handle it. If it is about academic qualification, there is a body that was created to handle that,” the Ndaragwa MP told People Daily.

He went on: “But also, if someone brings a petition to raise queries regarding qualifications of an aspirant, they have a burden of proving the allegations. We are not going to subject our aspirants to unnecessary costs, anxieties and spins. If you claim that an aspirant did not graduate in a particular school, you will have to substantiate the allegations, bring the list of the graduates of the school he claims to have studied and then show us that his or her name is missing to prove that the certificates are not genuine.”

Yesterday and on Monday, People Daily tried to reach Ngatia for his side of the story through numerous phone calls, Short Message Service (SMSs) and WhatsApp messages detailing the claims in the petitions, but were not successful since he did not respond to any of them.

Political wars

Despite the petition, Ngatia, whose multinational company Megascope Healthcare Limited has been dragged into the political wars after it featured prominently during the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) Covid-19 related supplies scandal, on Sunday, went on to hold a mega launch of his bid at Kangemi where he was accompanied by former Kibwezi MP Philip Kaloki, who sources say is set to be his running mate in the competition.

The petition, which relates to his intentions to seek a public office, could open his past life for public scrutiny where some of his old friends say he started off humbly before he carved a niche in the business world. 

Other than Ngatia who has been engaging in bruising fight with Orange Democratic Movement and  Westlands MP Tim Wanyonyi over the Azimio La Umoja ticket in Nairobi, other governor aspirants, who are seeking the Jubilee ticket, include Governor Anne Kananu, controversial city businesswoman Agnes Kagure and former Nairobi deputy governor Polycarp Igathe.

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