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Sunday, December 5, 2021

Petitioners of the MPs/MCAs degrees case race to file submissions, as the High Court gives deadline.

By Moses Ochengo

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The High Court has ordered the petitioners to file responses within 5 days,  in the case whereby MPs and MCAs are required to hold a degree as an eligibility for election candidature.

The court has also directed the other three main parties to the case, to file their submissions in the next 10 days. The three petitioners are the Attorney General, the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission. The case will be mentioned on July 7.

The court’s ruling come in the wake of clamour by most politicians to have the legislation that requires aspirants of elected offices to posses a university degree qualification.

While launching the Commission’s Annual Voter Education Week last week,  IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati said the law requiring aspirants for the six elective positions to be degree holders will come  into operation in 2022, when section 22 of the Election Act takes effect.

The law was given the nod just before the 2017 election. However, majority of the MPs managed to successfully lobby for its suspension until the 2022 general elections.

The push to scrap the legislation has gained momentum within the political parties and among some activist groups. On Monday, activist Gloria Orwoba moved to court seeking to challenge IEBC’s degree requirement for political aspirants. Ms. Gloria faulted the electoral body and cited that legislation is discriminatory and prohibitive to majority of Kenyan who qualify for political leadership but lack degrees.

“2019 Census report shows less than 2 percent of Kenyans can access University education. This means 98 percent of Kenyans will have to surrender their political right of representation to 2 percent. The Parliament further by glorifying the conventional degree has failed to consider equalizing qualifications attained through skills, experience, and knowledge,” Ms. Gloria explained.

If effected, the Elections Act law would lock out many MCAs and some members of the current Parliament from seeking re-election in next year’s polls. MCAs have previously argued that the statute mandating them to have a university degree has the ability to pervert the people’s will.

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