Petitions seek to block university degree rule for MCAs in elections

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021 00:00 |
Gloria Orwoba.

Two petitions have been filed in court seeking to declare section 22 of the Election Act that requires aspirants for Parliamentary and MCAs seats to have a degree from a recognised university unconstitutional.

Sheria Mtaani and Gloria Orwoba, a coordinator of Global Youth Parliament organisation filed their suits separately challenging the said Act saying it is discriminatory.

Sheria Mtaani through lawyer Danstan Omari, wants the court to suspend the operation and implementation of Section 22(1) of the Elections Act which makes it mandatory for aspirants for the position of the Member of County Assembly (MCA) in the 2022 General Elections to possess a degree from a recognised university.

“The overall effect of the implementation of the impugned section of the Elections Act has the deleterious and hazardous effect of undermining the Sovereignty of the people of Kenya by robbing the voters the right to vote for their desired candidate during the nominations leading to the year 2022 General Elections,” says Wycliffe Omayio, the secretary of the organisation in court documents.

Not accessible

The lobby group argues that the former and the current government have not made secondary and university education easily and freely accessible to Kenyans but has only made it constitutionally tenable to access basic education.

“The statutory demand for a university degree amongst the Members of the County Assembly is evidently overboard, unreasonable and motivated by irrational considerations that are hostile to the present constitutional order and reality,” argues the lobby group.

Orwoba, an aspiring MP for Bobasi in her petition argues that Section 22 of the Elections Act violates Article 38 of the Constitution by introducing unnecessary hurdles in the way of those who want to vie for elective posts.

Through lawyer Kariuki Karanja, Orwoba contends that by introducing the requirement for conventional degree via the Election Act, majority of Kenyans who would otherwise be qualified have been locked out.

The implementation of the Act had been suspended during the last two General Elections.

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