Members of the County Assembly have joined the growing list of interested parties seeking to stop the implementation of the diploma requirement for elective seats.
Neighborhood representatives through the County Assemblies Forum (CAF) have appealed to the High Court to challenge the implementation of the requirement which is due to come into effect in next year’s general election.
Addressing a press conference today, CAF President Ndegwa Wahome and General Secretary Kipkurui Chepkwony expressed confidence that the court will rule in their favor.
Mr Wahome called the law unconstitutional, saying it would make political seats the preserve of the elite.
“We have sued both houses of parliament that enacted this particular law as well as the Independent Election and Limits Commission (IEBC), which is supposed to implement the law, and the GA on behalf of all government entities that could be involved in law enforcement, ”he said.
The MCA’s petition has been certified urgent and the High Court will issue further instructions on July 7.
“As county assemblies, we believe this law is unconstitutional because it will deny Kenyans the opportunity to elect the leaders of their choice,” Wahome said.
Mr. Chepkwony (Tinderet Ward MCA) told MCAs not to worry about the degree requirement even as the polls approach.
“We want to allay fears by sitting MCAs and those interested in seeking the seats they need to continue planning and campaigning so that no one should be afraid,” he said.
He said the constitution gives voters the power to elect their preferred representative, saying implementing the law would be like dictating to the electorate who elects.
Chepkwony noted that there are some assemblies with only one member with a college degree, implying that if the law was implemented, all members would be locked out.
Last week, a pressure group and an activist took the courts to stop the implementation of the diploma requirement.
The pressure group Sheria Mtaani in its request claims that article 22 of the electoral law, which stipulates that all candidates for six elected positions must have at least a university degree, is unconstitutional because it discriminates against people with little education.
Through lawyer Dunstan Omari, activists want the provision on academic qualifications for elected office to be suspended.
“This law, if implemented, will deny voters the right to choose a candidate of their choice who does not have a university degree. It will also deny voters the right to participate freely in the elections due to the limitation on the number of people to be selected during the elections, ”said Mr. Omari.
Section 22 (1A) of the Election Law states that a person may be nominated as a candidate for elected office if only the person has a university degree recognized in Kenya.
“This article will come into force and will apply to the qualifications of candidates for the general elections which will take place after the general elections of 2017”, specifies the law.
The IEBC has already said it will not rule out any candidates seeking election to any of the six elective posts without a diploma.
In Parliament, Senator Elgeyo Marakwet Kipchumba Murkomen also sought to amend the section and list the ability to read and write as the only condition for a political seat.
Activist Gloria Orwoba also filed a petition, challenging the provision on the degree requirement for elective office.
She argued that this would limit the rights of many Kenyans, including young people, women, the elderly and people with disabilities, to challenge.
“The section specifically fails to recognize any other form of training and skill other than a degree from a recognized university. This is obvious discrimination since we have other good leaders who do not necessarily have the academic qualifications, ”argued Orwoba.
According to the youth policy analyst, political leadership requires not only academic qualifications, but a person with the skills and integrity to serve the people.
She added that even the government has recognized that it is not just academics that matter in a person’s development and has introduced the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) to emphasize the development of skills. skills and knowledge as opposed to academics only.
“The introduction of CBC confirms that the skills, training and other knowledge are applicable in real life situations, which include leadership,” said Orwoba.