The Senate legal committee has approved senator Kipchumba Murkomen’s Bill seeking to amend the elections act and remove a requirement for individuals vying for MCA and MP positions to have a degree.
The Nyamira Senator Okongo Omugeni-led committee said the bill will ensure Kenyans seeking elective posts are not discriminated upon.
The Elgeyo Marakwet legislator wants section 22 subsection 1 of the Elections Act amended by deleting paragraph B. It states that a person must hold a degree from a University recognized in Kenya in order to be nominated as a candidate for election.
Murkomen, an ally of Deputy President William Ruto, argues that the Act as it is is discriminatory and bars ordinary Kenyans from serving in public office.
He adds that any Kenyan literate in written and spoken English and Swahili, or is deaf but is privy to Kenyan sign language, should be eligible to vie for the elective posts.
“The provision as contained in the Elections Act is not only restrictive but discriminates against persons who may not have a degree as it implies that only persons who have a degree have the capacity to serve in public office,” states Murkomen.
A fortnight ago, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati said that only those with degrees will be able to run for office come 2022.
Chebukati said: “We follow the law and the Elections Act clearly states that all candidates in the six elective positions must have a university degree to able to qualify to run for office.”
In response to Chebukati, Dr Ruto said it was unconstitutional for the electoral commission to make it compulsory for MCAs to have degrees to contest the county assembly post.
“It cannot be that those who want to vie for MCA, MP, governor, senator and president seat has a uniform qualification. It is not in the law,” said the DP.
The DP said Article 30 (c) (iii) allows every Kenyan adult to be a candidate for public office or office within a political party of which the citizen who is a member is superior to the Election Act.