NAIROBI, Kenya June 16 – Two registered voters want the National Assembly to repeal a provision in the electoral law requiring anyone running for elected office to have a diploma.
Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi informed MPs that he had received a petition from Anthony Manyara and John Wangai stating that section 22 (1) (b) of the Election Law is unconstitutional as it is discriminatory, incompatible with the constitutional provisions in the Bill of Rights.
“The petitioners therefore pray that this House will remove Article 22 (1) (b) of the Election Law in its entirety in order to provide a level playing field for all candidates for elected office, regardless of their background.” , we read in the petition.
They added that the provisions are also contrary to the will and sovereignty of the people.
“Further, the petitioners say that the requirement for a university degree will make political leadership a preserve of the elite and disenfranchise a number of good leaders who may not have had the privilege of pursue higher education. As they may not have completed their studies within the expected timeframe of less than two years before the next elections, ”said the petitioner.
The implementation of the amended Article 22 of the Election Law was postponed in the 2017 polls to allow candidates who wish to run for MP and MCA positions to acquire the required academic qualifications.
The provisions are to come into force and apply to the qualifications of candidates for general elections to be held after the 2017 general election, being the general election of August 2022.
However, in their contribution to the petition which will be dealt with by the Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs, MEPs did not mince their words by showing their opposition to the request of the two petitioners.
Garissa Township Aden Duale, Robert Pukose (Endebess), David Ochieng (Ugenya) and Kangongo Bowen (Marakwet East) said House should not even welcome the petition because it is an abuse of the process because the suspension law enforcement aimed to give MPs, MCAs and incumbent aspirants sufficient time to improve their academic qualification to at least a degree.
Duale noted that elective seat holders must be well equipped and possess academic qualifications that effectively facilitate the exercise of legislative, oversight and representative roles.
“We cannot have people who have no basic education qualifications to participate in the function of the budgeting process in this House. We cannot have people who are not qualified to question the Auditor General’s reports in this House, ”said the former majority leader.
For his part, Bowen added that it is impossible to have illiterate lawmakers.
“You cannot legislate when you are illiterate. At the same time, we have seen in some cases a law professor as governor overseen by illiterate MCAs. We discussed this issue in the 11th legislature and this time we are not going to postpone it until 2027, ”said the MP for Marakwet East.
Ochieng also argued that the House must deal with the issue with finality, adding that the legislature should be compromised with substantive lawmakers able to question members of the executive and bills entering the August House. .
“Parliament will be charged if we interfere with this law. Because we have tried so many times. This time, we have to give up.
“As much as the petitioners have the right to bring the petition, I want to ask the relevant committee not to waste time on this issue, there are more serious matters to consider. The IEBC has not given on how it wants to organize the elections over the next year, ”said MP from Ugenya.