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Letter from Africa: Should degrees be necessary for leaders?


In our series of letters from African journalists, Joseph Warungu looks at why Kenya insists that its senior political leaders must hold a university degree.

There is a whirl of activity online at the moment as Kenyans try to “find” their old school mates to stand by them in case they are required to prove that they did in fact attend school and sat national examinations.

It is all a light-hearted mock of the serious situation in which the Governor of Mombasa, Ali Hassan Joho, has found himself in.

Police are investigating whether Mr Joho forged his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) as alleged by the Kenya National Examinations Council.

He denies any wrongdoing but if these allegations are proven, Mr Joho could be in danger of criminal charges and could be stripped of the degrees he subsequently obtained at university.

A person vying for the position of governor is required by law to hold a degree from a recognised university.

This means Mr Joho could potentially be locked out of the race to defend his seat in the August general election.

It is this last point that leads Mr Joho to describe the whole situation as attempts to intimidate him.