IEBC contests case seeking to overturn degree requirements
Published on: August 07, 2021 08:00 (EAT)
The country’s Electoral Agency IEBC has moved to court to quash a case seeking to overturn degree requirement for all contestants vying for elective positions in the country. The commission says that removing education qualifications for all elective and nominated positions would be absurd and offend the constitution. All elected members of county assemblies and parliament will be required to be degree holders in the 2022 General Elections The IEBC has asked the court to dismiss the case challenging education qualifications for MCAs and parliamentarians. In court papers the commission says that removing degree certificates for all elective and nominated positions would be absurd and would run contrary to the constitution which requires parliament to enact legislation on such qualifications. Similarly, the electoral agency argued that it is not correct that MCA’s perform unique roles deserving less education qualifications. In 2017 parliament amended the elections act to provide that a person is qualified for election as MCA or MP if they hold a degree certificate from a reputable institution in the country, a provision that would be deferred for five years until the 2022 general elections Last month a petition was filed in court challenging the provisions of the elections act requiring contestants to have degree certificates. The petitioners in the case argued that the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the academic year 2020 therefore hampering and frustrating many Kenyans who wanted to have their degree by year 2020. Deputy President William Ruto is on record opposed to the provisions. The DP claimed the law was discriminatory and raised against members of the county assemblies “To say that MCAs should have the same qualifications as MPs and Governors is unreasonable,” the DP said. At the Senate, Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen drafted an Amendment Bill seeking to repeal section 22 of the elections act, 2011 on degree requirement. In the proposed amendment, Murkomen wants anyone who is able to read and write in the English or Swahili languages or, in the case of a person who is deaf or hard of hearing, is literate in the Kenya sign language eligible to vie.