Aspirants without Degree certificate have everything to smile after the Senate legal committee approved a bill seeking to remove the degree requirements for MP and MCAs ahead of the 2022 General Election.
Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati had announced that his commission will not clear candidates seeking various seats who do not have a degree as stipulated in the Elections Act.
The ‘Murkomen bill’ as it has been nicknamed was tabled before the Senate on Thursday, June 17, seeking to amend Section 22 of the Elections Act 2011 which requires that all aspirants seeking elective posts must hold degree from a recognized institution in Kenya.
“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,” Murkomen said in his submission to the Senate.
Elgeyo Marakwet Senator instead argues that anyone who is able to read and write in English or Swahili languages be allowed to seek any elective position especially for MP and MCA seats.
The fate of the Murkomen bill now lies with the National Assembly where should the House pass it; it will then be forwarded to President Uhuru Kenyatta for presidential ascent.
Chebukati who recently said the poll agency was ill-prepared for the 2022 General Election maintained that all aspirants in the six elective positions must have at least a degree certificate as the first qualification.
“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,” he said.
Soon after the IEBC declaration, Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto argued that the restrictions are unreasonable and that the Constitution of Kenya has room to be amended to accommodate all candidates seeking elective posts in Kenya.
“But when parliament provided the qualifications, they gave same qualifications for people who want to be President, Senators, MCAs and MPs. If the intention of the constitution was to provide a uniform qualification for all those positions, then it would have provided in the constitution,” Ruto said.