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MCAs move to court to challenge degree qualification

Members of the County Assemblies (MCA) have moved to court to challenge a law that stipulates all aspirants seeking elective positions possess among others, a University degree.

The MCAs, under the County Assembly Forum (CAF) banner, join a list of parties seeking to have the requirement scrapped.

The Forum of MCAs wants Section 22 of the Elections Act to be expunged and declared unconstitutional, arguing that it is discriminatory to those without degrees and will make political leadership a preserve of only the elite.

The section states that all candidates for the six elective positions in the country, including MCAs, to have at least a University Degree.

CAF chairperson Ndegwa Wahome said they filed a constitutional petition in the High Court Tuesday last week suing both Houses of Parliament, the IEBC, and the Attorney General.

He said that the matter has been certified as urgent and they are supposed to go back to court on July 7, 2021, for a hearing.

“As county assemblies, we think that law is unconstitutional as it will deny Kenyans the chance to elect leaders of their choice,” said Wahome.

Last week, a lobby group, Sheria Mtaani, and an activist, Gloria Orwoba, moved to court to stop the implementation of the new elections law.

The Nyandarua County Assembly Speaker expressed optimism that the matter will have been dispensed with before September when parties are required to submit guidelines and regulations to the IEBC ahead of the 2022 General Election.

To this effect, he pointed out that they have adopted a multi-pronged approach including lobbying Parliament to have the section of the law deleted.

Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen is pushing through with a Bill seeking to amend the section and lists ability to read and write as the only requirement for a political seat.

“There are many ways of skinning a cat and we are applying all of them to ensure this unconstitutional law is removed from our legislation,” he said.

CAF Secretary General Kipkurui Chepkwony called on sitting MCAs and those interested in seeking the same seat that they need not fear but continue planning and campaigning as they will defeat the legislation.

He argued that the Constitution gives everyone a right to choose whoever they feel like, either a degree holder or non-degree holder, and therefore the public should not be directed on who they should elect.