By Alex Njuguna
There is a silver lining for Ward representative aspirants without degrees after Elego Marakwet Senator drafted a bill that seeks to remove the requirement which the electoral commission want to implement next year.
Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chair Wafula Chebukati announced that the law requiring aspirants to be degree holders will take effect in the 2022 General Election a move that has sent shivers to many who have already launched campaigns.
The efforts to implement the Constitutional provision has faced headwinds following Murkomen’s draft bill which will be read for the first time next month when the lawmakers resume plenary sessions after a month-long recess.
In the proposed amendment, Murkomen wants anyone who is able to read and write in English or Swahili language or, in the case of a person who is deaf, is literate in the Kenya sign language.
“The purpose of this bill is to amend the Elections Act No. 24 of 2011 to enable a person who is able to read and write to be nominated as a candidate for elections as a Member of Parliament,” the bill reads.
Deputy President William Ruto has also waded into the matter saying it was unconstitutional to make it compulsory for MCAs to have degrees to contest the ward representative’s position and urged Parliament to reconsider the Act and remove unreasonable restrictions for citizens who want to contest for various positions.
If the election act is implemented as it is, many contenders will miss out in the ballot and their aspirations will remain to be a pipe dream.
Many Like Wamuga Mwangi from Gitugi who is eyeing the Ward rep seat have welcomed the move by Murkomen saying a leader is never determined by education.
“Leadership is a calling, we may have people who never went to school but they are good managers and defenders of peoples’ interests, the section must be amended forthwith,” Mwangi added.
However some other leaders led by Mt Kenya region MCAs caucus chair Charles Mwangi alias Ichagaki One said the provision is paramount due to their oversight and legislation roles.
“It is a requirement for County Executive Members or the County Ministers to have the degrees and they are approved by MCAs and then over sight them, it is difficult to play the oversightorial roles to more educated people than you,” Ichagaki said.
He further added that BBI recommended that a governor picks MCAs to be his Ministers which would prove difficult if they did not have degrees.