Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha did not come to play.
The resolute Scholar has directed investigations into the PhDs awarded by local universities amid concerns that some of the postgraduate degrees are substandard or were obtained irregularly.
One such conscientious doctorate is that awarded to Deputy President William Ruto from the University of Nairobi last year December. Many scholars termed Ruto’s PhD stark case of chicanery.
Prof Magoha said he had asked the Commission for University Education (CUE) to establish whether the PhDs met set standards.
One Scholar argued thus.
“A lot of workload and academic rigors is necessary for the attainment of a PhD. Ruto is said to have enrolled for his PhD in 2012, at the time he was battling indictment at the Hague for crimes against humanity for his role in the 2007/2008 PEV, he faced life in prison if convicted; this was itself a unique experience not just for the country but particularly for him considering the stress and effort of mounting a defense that required full time or quite a lot of time as it ran its course of four plus years – it was terminated without prejudice (meaning it can be revived again, actually it was a mistrial of sorts) in April, 2016.
In March 2013, Ruto became Kenya’s Deputy President, yet another full time position and he immediately started campaigning for president in 2022. Ruto has himself taken a lot of credit for single handedly running the country as he accused President Kenyatta of being derelict and I just happen to believe that running the country also requires time; in the mix of that all these, he has amassed obscene amount of wealth – rumored to be in the Billions of shillings.
Now, I may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer but someone needs to explain to me how a man in Ruto’s shoes with all these obligations and commitments can achieve such gigantic fetes and still study and pass the rigors of an academic PhD, what are we missing? Ruto’s work station is almost 200 miles from the swamp in Western Kenya which is the subject of his thesis, Who is fooling who? If Ruto is indeed a bona fide PhD, then I say 1 Million more Kenyans are equally deserving of PhDs and should be conferred their PhDs as well, fair is fair.”
Makau Mutua, a SUNY Distinguished Professor claimed the DP’s doctorate is ‘politically acquired’ and similar to the one awarded to Grace Mugabe, wife of former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, which she was stripped after her husband lost power late last year.
Similar sentiments have been echoed by renowned economist David Ndii who has come out strongly to discredit Ruto’s PhD alleging it had been achieved through dubious means and pointed an accusing finger at the varsity.
Magoha feels the same way. He said he had personally come across PhD graduates in several interviews who could not explain issues related to their purported areas of study, suggesting some commissioned their postgraduate research to third parties.
“Holding a paper does not mean anything. Some universities are producing more than 100 PhDs per year but when you look at the quality, it is only 10 who merit to have the doctorate degrees,” said Prof Magoha.
The Cabinet Secretary said employers were concerned with the quality of graduates from local universities.
Vice-chancellors committee chairman Francis Aduol echoed Prof Magoha’s sentiments, narrating how he interviewed two PhD graduates for lecturer positions whom he found to be ill-trained.
Last month, Kenya was described as a hotbed of academic dishonesty, where jobless graduates are minting millions of shillings writing thesis and term papers for students in the United Kingdom.
Doctorate candidates reportedly pay £2,000 (Sh264,000) to £6,000 for dissertations.
“Kenya is the hotbed where the writing happens. There is high unemployment and a job working from home is coveted. They have good English and low overheads,” Dr Thomas Lancaster, a senior fellow at Imperial College, London, was quoted by the British press as saying.
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