Two petitions challenging degree requirement law filed in court

Two petitions challenging degree requirement law filed in court

A law set to take effect in the 2022 polls which requires contestants for Member of Parliament (MP) and Member of the  County Assembly (MCA) seats to have a university degree qualification has been challenged in court.

At least two petitions have been filed challenging the said law.

In the first petition, Gloria Orwaba argues that the law violates the constitution, arguing that it introduces unnecessary hurdles for those seeking to vie for elective posts.

She says that the implementation of the said law is discriminatory against many Kenyans who may qualify as good leaders by failing to recognize and equating various academic qualifications, trainings skills and other merits.

“Section 22 of the Election 22 of the Election ACT 2011 specifically fails to recognize any other form of training or competence other than a conventional degree from a recognized University,”reads court papers.

The second petition has been filed by Sheria Mtaani and lawyer Shadrack Wambui.

Through lawyer Danstan Omar, the two petitioners argue 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.

“The impugned section of the election Act flows from a flawed assumption that persons possessing a university degree which test fails the constitutional threshold under article 24 of the constitution,” reads the papers.

Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of County Assembly (MCAs) must hold a bachelor’s degree before they can run for office, according to the legislation.

Despite the fact that the law was passed just before the 2017 election, the National Assembly successfully lobbied for its suspension after the election in the hopes of obtaining the papers by 2022.

Since Covid-19 hit the country in March, most universities have been closed for months on end to stem the spread of the virus

It means that politicians who want to run for office but don’t have the necessary paperwork will be barred from running.

MCAs have previously argued that the statute mandating them to have a university degree has the ability to pervert the people’s will.

The County Assembly Forum, a caucus that represents all 47 county assemblies, recently stated that stipulations in the Elections Act of 2012 could prevent a majority of MCAs who do not have university degrees but consider themselves qualified leaders from running for office.

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