A number of members of county assemblies (MCAs) are at risk of being locked out of the 2017 General Election if a proposed law that requires them to have diplomas is passed.
The Bill, sponsored by Ainabkoi MP Samuel Chepkonga, has set a diploma as the minimum qualification for all individuals seeking to run for ward representative positions.
The draft law is set to be tabled in Parliament once members resume sittings in February.
The qualifications will be raised to degree level in the 2022 General Election, according to the Bill.
Currently, many MCAs lack high-level qualifications, a situation critics have linked to the poor quality of Bills and motions passed in assemblies.
The Constitution does not specify academic qualifications for members of county assemblies, Parliament and the Senate.
The new Bill is likely to face opposition from MCAs, who have described the proposal as a political witch-hunt meant to lock them out of their seats.
In the proposed law, all political parties will be required to nominate for ward seats only candidates with diplomas in 2017 and those with degrees in 2022.
“The Bill seeks to amend Section 22 of the Elections Act so that after the 2017 General Election, a member of a county assembly may only be nominated for an election if the person is a holder of a degree from a university recognised in Kenya,” says the law.
But some MCAs, including majority leaders Robert Makhanu (Kakamega) and Andrew Ahuga (Vihiga), defended members, saying they were up to the task.
“Leadership cannot be narrowed down to academic qualifications. The challenge we are facing is that we have been pioneers of devolution,” said Mr Makhanu.
The MCAs have been under criticism from Attorney-General Githu Muigai and the Law Society of Kenya for coming up with what they termed substandard legislation.
The new law also seeks to amend section 13 of the Elections Act, by requiring political parties to nominate their candidates for a General Election at least 90 days before voting.
Narok County leading online newspaper.
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