Ssembabule district woman MP, Anifa Kawooya has picked nomination forms to run in the NRM primaries after she was cleared by the National Council of Higher Education
By Eddie Ssejjoba
SSEMBABULE district woman MP, Anifa Kawooya, has picked nomination forms to run in the NRM primaries after she was cleared by the National Council of Higher Education (NCHE).
Kawooya who has in the past been beset by numerous challenges surrounding her education, stormed the party headquarters on Kyadondo Road armed with a letter from NCHE, her academic transcripts and an assortment of legal documents.
The letter from NCHE dated July 13, 2015 and signed by NCHE executive director Prof. Opuda-Asibo read; “Council resolved that the certificate of formal completion of A' Level or its equivalent awarded to you in December 2005 did not apply in your case, since you hold a Degree of Bachelor of Development Studies of Nkumba University, which is higher that A' Level…You are free to use qualification obtained from Nkumba University.”
Kawooya also presented proof of payment of the sh2m that was set by the NRM party for prospective candidates to take part in the primaries.
The chairman of the NRM electoral commission, Dr. Tanga Odoi had on Tuesday said he would summon Kawooya to discuss her academic qualifications before she could seek to get nominated.
Odoi told journalists that he had received a letter from KNT Advocates, who acted on behalf of Joy Kabatsi, requesting that Kawooya be barred from the on-going process.
"Yes I have a letter about Hon Kawooya's case, I will discuss with her about the merits and demerits of the contents of this letter. If she finds out that she has no required qualifications for Member of Parliament, the she has no business here. Those who are short of required papers will be advised to try LC3 or LC1," Odoi said.
"We shall only accept certificates certified in 2015, we have many MPs in parliament who bribed their way but this time if you do not have papers, don't waste time coming here," he said.
"O and A levels are a must, you could be having a PHD or a Masters but the basic requirements are certified copies of O and A levels, we have our legal team here and will help those with no papers to try other levels where such qualifications are not needed," he added.
According to a letter dated June 30, 2015, NCHE executive director Prof. Opuda-Asibo said the certificate of formal completion of 'A' Level or its equivalent that was awarded to Kawooya does not apply in pursuit of her political aspirations.
"The purpose of this letter therefore is to communicate Council's decision on this matter and request you to return the certificate issued to you on December 8, 2015 to our secretariat at your earliest convenience," Opuda wrote.
In 2005, Kawooya requested the NCHE to issue her a certificate of equivalence to enable her stand for woman MP in Sembabule District subject to verification with the Knights Bridge University UK as well as UNEB for the O' Level Certificate, which qualifications she used to obtain admission into other institutions and Nkumba University.
According to a letter by the NRM EC chairperson at the time, Felistus Magomu, it was alleged that Kawooya's admission and subsequent award of the degree by Nkumba University was founded on at least two invalid academic certificates. Magomu said information showed that Kawooya was not qualified for admission to 'A' level since she was awarded the "U" unclassified grade at O' Level.
In a letter to the Speaker of parliament dated July 10, KNT advocates, on behalf of Joy Kabatsi said investigations were also carried out in UK and it was found that Knights Bridge University was none existent.
In September the NCHE wrote to Nkumba University and demanded that Kawooya's certificate be withdrawn. Kawooya however protested and petitioned the Constitution Court claiming that the NCHE should have given her a fair hearing before recalling the certificate.
The Court ruled that Kawooya had a right to be heard and that the Council should have afforded her the opportunity. It was also upheld by the Supreme Court. The Council summoned Kawooya and heard her defence. Unfortunately on June 30, 2015, the Council upheld its decision to recall the certificate.
Nomination fees defended
Meanwhile, NRM vice chairperson for Kampala region Francis Babu has defended the fees of sh2m required for MPs nominations saying the EC needed to run its affairs and buy items required in conducting the elections.
He said the money charged by aspirants was also another contribution to their party and there should be complaint.
Over 155 persons picked forms from the EC head offices at Kyadondo Road and expressed optimism ton win the various positions.
The aspirants who picked forms on the first day included trade minister, Amelia Kyambadde who said she wanted to retain her seat in Mawokota North but said she would not vie for the NRM district chairperson seat.
Additional reporting by Mary Karugaba
Kawooya cleared by NCHE, picks nomination forms