Proposed Kenyan Law Could Lock Out Politicians without Degrees

Proposed Kenyan Law Could Lock Out Politicians without Degrees

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s and Cord leader Raila Odinga’s key allies risk being locked out of the 2017 election if proposals by a parliamentary committee become law.

The National Assembly’s Legal Affairs Committee has adopted proposed amendments by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission. The amendments say that all contestants for seats in the bicameral Parliament should be holders of at least a university degree – attained at least five years before an election.

The Elections Laws (Amendment) Bill, spearheaded by the committee chaired by Ainabkoi MP Samuel Chepkong’a, also wants MCAs be diploma holders in 2017, and degree holders in subsequent polls, a requirement that has sparked controversy.

The law currently states that one should have post-graduate qualifications, a provision the IEBC views as ambiguous.

In 2012, more than half of the lawmakers nearly locked themselves out of contention after they approved a section in the Elections Act, requiring aspirants for the presidential, governor and parliamentary seats to be degree holders.

However, the law was later amended to provide that MPs and senators only require “a post-secondary education”, a terminology the IEBC says is ambiguous.

Some key Uhuru and Raila allies who do not have a degree include Maina Kamanda (Starehe MP), Mary Wambui (Othaya MP), Hassan Mwanyoha (Matuga MP), Johnstone Muthama (Machakos senator), Emma Mbura (Nominated senator), Maison Leshomo (Samburu woman representative), Oscar Sudi (Kapseret MP) and former Nairobi Mayor George Aladwa, who is eying the Makadara MP seat.

– The Star

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