July 19, 2019

Uganda court overturns decision to cancel Joho’s degree

Mombasa Governor Hassan Ali Joho scored his second victory in a week when the high court in Kampala overturned a decision to cancel his degree. In April, the Uganda National Council of Higher Education had cancelled Joho’s degree, prompting Kampala University, which awarded the degree, to seek judicial review insisting the team had no powers to annul it. On Thursday last week, a three-judge bench struck out a case filed by Silas Otuke, a voter based in Mombasa questioning Joho’s degree and participation in the March 4, 2013 election. Yesterday, the governor savoured a second victory when the Ugandan high court reversed the council’s decision. Justice Stephen Musota ruled that the council had no jurisdiction to either recall or decide over any degree awarded by any university in Uganda. He also found that the council acted illegally in the cancellation. “The decision was reached in contempt of a court order and without giving any of the affected parties an opportunity of being heard, contrary to the rules of natural justice,” said the judge who also ordered the council not to disseminate any information on the cancellation.

He added: “The court had also stopped the council from using the decision contained in the resolution of April 30 in any manner harmful to the interests of the applicant. Joho’s lawyer, Denis Mosota, hailed the ruling saying justice has prevailed. “To us, beyond vindicating Joho’s degree, this is a very profound and far-reaching decision as far as the regulatory powers of the National Council for Higher Education are concerned. The Judgment affirms the academic independence of individual institutions of higher learning,” said the lawyer.

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