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Raila’s Degree Made Public, Raises More Questions

Raila’s Degree Made Public, Raises More Questions

Raila Odinga’s degree from the Otto von Guericke Technical University Magdeburg recently surfaced online after Kenya Kwanza leaders raised concerns about the authenticity of his academic papers.

Raila graduated from the institution in August 1969, according to the certificate, which was shared on social media by pro-Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition party bloggers.

Prior to the 2013 General Election, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party boss was awarded a certificate as a graduate engineer, which was translated into English.

The degree, however, raised more questions than answers due to glaring inconsistencies, beginning with the awarding institution.

The degree stated that it was awarded by Otto von Guericke Technical University Magdeburg, a 1993 institution.

The university was formed by the merger of three universities, one of which was the Technical University of Magdeburg, where Raila studied.

“It does not make sense why the degree does not have the name of the older institution.”

“For instance, if someone attended Kenya Polytechnic and graduated in 2005, it would be curious if their degree read the Technical University of Kenya,” a local journalist told Kenyans.co.ke. 

It is possible, however, that the discrepancy occurred because the former premier chose his certificate in 2013, when the degree requirement was implemented.

This, however, would imply that Raila returned to Kenya without academic certificates, raising further questions about how he obtained a job at a university without proof of university education.

Raila's Degree Made Public, Raises More Questions
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s certificate from Otto von Guericke Technical University Magdeburg shared online on June 16, 2022.TWITTERPAULINE NJOROGE

Furthermore, the degree demonstrates that it was granted in the German Democratic Republic, also known as East Germany – a country that did not exist in 2013 because it had merged with West Germany to form the current state, the Federal Republic of Germany.

The document was also translated into English, as is customary for candidates to submit original certificates to the Commission of Higher Education, which is in charge of translating and verifying them.

Raila stated in his bio that the degree was obtained from the Technical School of Magdeburg, which is now part of the University of Magdeburg).

“He received a scholarship that in 1965 sent him to the Technical School, Magdeburg (now a part of Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg) in the GDR. In 1970, he graduated with an MSc (Masters of Science) in Mechanical Engineering. He returned to Kenya in 1970.” read the statement in part.


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In addition, the former Prime Minister is a Leipzig University alumnus, as is former German chancellor Angela Markel. It was unclear what he studied at the university.

This was consistent with his biography, which stated that the former premier attended the East German university after graduating from Maranda High School.

The course he took, however, was not listed.

The statement indicates that he attended Kisumu Union Primary School, Maranda Primary School, and Maranda High School until 1962.

He spent the next two years at the Herder Institute, which is part of the philological faculty at East Germany’s University of Leipzig.

Raila’s Degree Made Public, Raises More Questions

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