NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 12 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has proposed amendments to the Elections Act to require those vying as Members of Parliament to hold a degree from a recognised university and a diploma for Members of County Assemblies (MCA) for the 2017 polls.
IEBC Chairman Issack Hassan told the National Assembly Legal Affairs Committee that all elective posts including MCAs will be require one to hold a degree by 2022.
He observed that raising minimum academic qualifications for elective offices was important to guarantee quality leadership.
The Elections Act states that only the President, Deputy President, Governors and Deputy Governors are required to hold a degree from a recognised university.
The Constitution and County Government Act do not specify academic qualifications for MCAs.
MPs in the committee said given the large amounts of money devolved given to counties, Members of County Assemblies must be educated and intellectually equipped to carry out oversight.
MPs in the Tenth Parliament changed the law at the last minute before going to the poll, effectively shielding themselves from the requirement. In the last minute change, MPs lowered proposed academic requirements, exempting candidates for both Houses of Parliament and County Assemblies from holding degrees.
Thus, for the last General Election, candidates did not require a certificate, diploma or other post-secondary school qualification.
The IEBC is further proposing that by-elections shouldn’t be done six months before General Elections.
Political party nominations for General Elections remain 90 days before the poll while party membership lists should be submitted 120 days before elections.
This will allow the commission to address all nomination disputes. Currently the law gives them 45 days.