Does Taita Taveta Governor Granton Samboja possess a fake degree?

Barely a fortnight after being sworn in at the historic Mwatunge Primary School grounds in Mwatate sub-county, Taita Taveta governor Granton Graham Samboja is a man under siege after Kenyatta University – where he claims to have studied – disowned his degree.

In a letter signed by Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Paul Wainaina, the institution says that there are no records in the university to indicate that Granton Samboja of ID number 1254***1 was a student of Kenyatta University and graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce in 2009.

“No student by that name enrolled at the university in 2006 or graduated in 2009 as alleged by Samboja,” the university states.

However, the celebrated former journalist who surprised many when he floored political bigwigs like incumbent John Mruttu (Independent), Thomas Mwadeghu (ODM) and Dan Mwazo (Jubilee) to clinch the coastal county’s top seat, has denied claims that he holds a fake degree.

In a personal statement, Samboja argues that he went to Mwakishimba Primary School in Taita Taveta and finished in 1990 then joined Ngangao Secondary School where he obtained a D plain.

Samboja further said that in January 2002, he enrolled for a Certificate course in Project Management at Kenyatta University through distance learning and later studied for a Diploma in Human Resource Management at the same college in 2003.

He later pursued a degree course at the same university in 2006.

The controversy surrounding Samboja’s education qualifications has been a subject of ongoing court battles – both in Nairobi and Mombasa – for some time now, since the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) opened an investigation into the issue earlier this year.

EACC wanted Samboja disqualified on grounds of forgery but the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) went ahead to accept Samboja’s certificate and place him on the ballot.

But the storm appears to be far from over for Samboja after Armstrong Kiwoi – a voter in the county – continued with his quest to have the new governor out.

Kiwoi – who earlier unsuccessfully sought to stop Samboja’s swearing in through an application dismissed by Mombasa High Court judge Eric Ogola – now wants the court to declare the election of Samboja as Taita Taveta Governor illegal because he did not meet the educational standards as prescribed in the Constitution.