Home Court News Petitions challenging degree requirement law filed in court to be heard next month

Petitions challenging degree requirement law filed in court to be heard next month

by Robert Guyana

A Nairobi court has directed petitioners seeking aspirant MPs and MCAs to have a degree from a recognized university as a qualification to serve respondent Attorney General who should respond in 10 days.

The application has been filed under certificate of urgency by several lawyers including Danstan Omari,Kariuki Karanja,Shadrack Wambui among acting for the MPS,Mca’s among other people without a degree.

Kariuki is acting for Politician Gloria Orwoba and are challenging requirement for MPs and MCAs to have a degree from a recognized university.

The matter was mentioned before Judge James Makau on June 21,2021 who ordered the petitioners to serve the AG within one day.

The AG was ordered to file and serve his response to the petition within 10 days after the date of service.

In the case, Kariuki argues that Section 22 of the Election Act violates Article 38 of the Constitution by introducing unnecessary hurdles in the way of those who want to vie for elective posts.

“By Parliament introducing the requirement for a conventional degree via the Election Act, the majority of Kenyans who would otherwise be qualified have been locked out,”he adds

He says that according to the 2019 census report only less than 2 percent of Kenyans had a chance to access University education. As such the 98 percent of Kenyans will have to surrender their political right of representation to the 2 percent whether they like it or not.

The Petitioner argues it’s a matter of fact that 83.6% of the 2020 KCSE candidates will be locked out and will have to be enrolled to other technical training programmes.

The Kenyan government, in full realization that there are a huge number of youths who do not have a chance to join the universities over time, established the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Authority under the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Act 2014.

The Petitioner states that it’s not reasonable or justifiable to lock out Kenyans specifically the youths and other marginalized persons from vying as representative of their people just because they do not possess a conventional degree.

The second petition has been filed by Sheria Mtaani and lawyer Shadrack Wambui.

Through lawyer Danstan Omar, the two petitioners argue that the COVID-19 Pandemic disrupted the academic year 2020 therefore hampering and frustrating many Kenyans who wanted to have their degree by year 2020.

“The impugned section of the election Act flows from a flawed assumption that persons possessing a university degree which test fails the constitutional threshold under article 24 of the constitution,” reads the papers.

Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of County Assembly (MCAs) must hold a bachelor’s degree before they can run for office, according to the legislation.

Despite the fact that the law was passed just before the 2017 election, the National Assembly successfully lobbied for its suspension after the election in the hopes of obtaining the papers by 2022.

Since Covid-19 hit the country in March, most universities have been closed for months on end to stem the spread of the virus

It means that politicians who want to run for office but don’t have the necessary paperwork will be barred from running.

MCAs have previously argued that the statute mandating them to have a university degree has the ability to pervert the people’s will.

The County Assembly Forum, a caucus that represents all 47 county assemblies, recently stated that stipulations in the Elections Act of 2012 could prevent a majority of MCAs who do not have university degrees but consider themselves qualified leaders from running for office.

The matter will come up for Hearing before Hon. Justice Mrima on 7th July 2021

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