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PM Odinga addressing the press at his office on Monday/ PMPS


Raila opposes degree rule for MPs

PM Odinga addressing the press at his office on Monday/ PMPS

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 25 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Monday added to the dissenting voices opposed to amendments on the Political Parties Act and the Elections Act.

The PM said that it was uncalled for to re open the window of party-hopping and indiscipline in the political parties that had already been dealt with by the law.

Odinga stated that the move should remind Kenyans that the Constitution has many enemies and who will seek to scuttle the implementation process.

“I share this outrage at the amendments to the Political Parties’ Act that were passed by the National Assembly; a quick glance at our history will tell us that the enemies of the Constitution have embarked on doing what was done to the independence Constitution,” said the premier.

“The attempt to license party hopping is intended to give a new lease of life to the life of political indiscipline, it is meant to subvert the democratic will of the electorate and to subjugate this will to the narrow and selfish whims of politicians,” he declared

Odinga also opposed the degree requirement on leaders saying it will limit those who are yet to attain higher education.

He insisted that the country was yet to make university education accessible to all as only one percent of Kenyans have university degrees.

“University education in Kenya is still not easily accessible. For long the country had only one public university, today though many public universities exist they are still incapable of catering to the vast majority of Kenyans who wish to access university education,” said the PM at a briefing in his office.

“Currently, less than two per cent of Kenyans have a university education. Kenya cannot now turn round on the people that the country has been unable to provide with educational qualifications and punish them for lacking those qualifications,” further said the PM.

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He said he had consulted with President Kibaki and that both were in agreement that the amendments infringed on other rights provided for in the Constitution

The premier said that the requirement on education will also lock out the youth most of whom have attained 18 years and still without degrees and who have the right to participate in the electoral process.

“The amendment will mean that the youth cannot have the opportunity we as a country intended to give our youth… if Parliament wants to give Kenyans good leadership then it should look to the issue of integrity and ethics,” he insisted challenging Parliament to instead tighten requirements in the leadership and integrity Bill.

President Kibaki who jetted back on Monday morning has already rejected the Miscellaneous Amendment Bill 2012 which contained the amendments and is expected to give reasons for the rejection.

Last week Parliament approved changes to the Political Parties Act to allow MPs and councilors to defect from their political parties and still retain their seats, a move that has elicited stiff opposition.

Gachoka MP Mutava Musyimi successfully proposed to amend the Political Parties Act to suspend the clause until after the next elections.

Civil Society Organisations had earlier on Monday petitioned the president not to assent to the Statute Law, (Miscellaneous Amendment) Bill that sailed through Parliament last Thursday.

About 80 MPs who were said to lack the qualification are also said to have petitioned the President to decline assent to the Bill as they risk being locked out in the General election if the requirement became law.

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