Sakaja’s academic qualifications saga attract attention in South Africa

By , K24 Digital
On Sun, 19 Jun, 2022 10:59 | 2 mins read
Johnson Sakaja
Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja. PHOTO/Courtesy

South Africa's former public protector Thuli Madonsela has weighed in on Kenya’s degree requirement for politicians running for governor, suggesting that South Africa follows suit when hiring prime ministers, Members of Executive Councils (MECs), ministers, Members of Parliament (MPs) and presidents. 

This week she reacted to reports that the Commission for University Education (CUE) revoked its earlier recognition of a degree from a Ugandan university that Nairobi senator Johnson Sakaja presented for clearance to run for Nairobi County governor.

“In Kenya, you need a degree for election as governor. Should we not require the same for our premiers, MECs, ministers, MPs and presidents?"Madonsela posed. 

She added: “Does it make sense to ask people who have not been taught how to deal with complexity or interpret laws to make and enforce laws?”

Former public protector Thuli Madonsela
Former public protector Thuli Madonsela. PHOTO/Sunday Times

Madonsela’s suggestion elicited mixed reactions from many, including one SA Movement leader Mmusi Maimane, who noted that the requirements should also include having a clean track record. 

This is not the first time Madonsela has been vocal about SA politicians.

Earlier, she shared her observations after watching the presidency budget vote debate, stating that most MPs do not have a clue on what a point of order means. 

“Watching parliament right now has convinced me a lot of public representatives have no clue what a point of order is.” she lamented.

A point of order is a query in a formal debate or meeting about whether the correct procedure is followed. In a parliamentary proceeding, a point of order occurs when someone draws attention to a rules violation in a meeting of a deliberative assembly.

Madonsela further noted that the parliament’s rules should be enforced with fines.

“In ordinary clubs, people are fined when they speak out of turn. Why is parliament not doing the same? Being hit in the pocket could make people give parliament the decorum it deserves,” she said. 

While Madonsela did not mention the MPs in question, most people thought her comment was a dig at Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MPs.

During the debate, EFF lawmakers present in the National Assembly were thrown out of the chamber for repeatedly raising points of order for President Cyril Ramaphosa not to address parliament. 

EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu, who was attending via the virtual platform, was muted after shouting accusations at Ramaphosa.

He was asked to withdraw his statements, but refused and was removed from the virtual platform.

In a statement, the EFF condemned speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s actions to mute MPs, saying it was an illegal and a criminal decision. 

“We condemn in the strongest terms the disgusting, barbaric and dictatorship conduct of the speaker of parliament, who unilaterally and without quoting any rule of the National Assembly muted more than 289 MPs on the parliamentary virtual platform,” the party stated. 

They added: “We further condemn the illogical, factional and suppressive decision to remove Malema, along with Shivambu, from the virtual platform without just cause. The EFF will not tire in the quest to ensure Ramaphosa is held accountable, no matter what threats may be made against members or any physical violence that the bloodthirsty Ramaphosa may deploy.”

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