Deputy President William Ruto has come to the defense of Members of County Assemblies after IEBC placed announced the coming into force of a law that requires higher qualifications for the position.
On Tuesday, June 15 the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission(IEBC) announced that MCAs will be required to have a Bachelors’s degree to contest the ward seats in the 2022 General Election.
Now, DP Ruto has joined other leaders in protesting the move by IEBC.
Speaking during a meeting with MCAs from Baringo County, Ruto said that the constitution requires different contstants to have a degree as a qualification, but the same constitution gives room for review of the qualifications.
“Article 200 of the constitution provides for parliament to make legislation for qualifications of both voters and candidates for all elective positions in Kenya. But, article 38 of the same constitution prohibits any unreasonable restrictions being placed in the way of voters or candidates,” Ruto argued.
“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,”
According to Ruto, it is unreasonable for MCAs to have the same qualifications as other legislators holding senior positions.
“To say that MCAs should have the same qualifications as MPs, Governors, and Presidents is not to be reasonable. We are going to support the review of those recommendations that were made in the law so that we can allow the majority of Kenyans to be able to vie. It is not reasonable that only 1% of Kenyans are able to vie for these elective positions,” he concluded.
It is not only Ruto who has protested the recommendation by IEBC.
The Members of County Assembly’s umbrella body also slammed MPs over the plan to make a degree a requirement for elective positions, arguing that it will disadvantage most of them especially those from marginalized areas.
Section 22 of the Elections Act No.24 of 2011 provides for the academic requirements for election to the position of the President, Governor, Members of Parliament, and Members of County Assemblies.
The section was amended in 2017 to require all persons seeking elective positions including MPs and MCAs to have a minimum of a degree from a recognised university.
Kivumbi.co.ke understands that and unless amended, this law will take effect in the upcoming General Election, a factor that has raised mixed reactions from politicians- both seating and those eyeing political seats.