The demand for higher academic qualifications contained in the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill comes after sustained complaints of weak legislation and poor quality of debate in county assemblies. The current law requires MCA candidates to have at least a Form Four certificate.
MPs will need to have a university degree for next year’s election.Candidates for county ward rep seats will be required to have a university degree as the minimum academic qualification after next year’s General Election.
Proposed amendments to the Election Act, however, offer a reprieve for contestants eyeing the Member of County Assembly (MCA) seats next year, who will be required to have a diploma certificate as a minimum qualification.The current law requires MCA candidates to have at least a Form Four certificate.
The demand for higher academic qualifications contained in the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill comes after sustained complaints of weak legislation and poor quality of debate in county assemblies.
“A person may be nominated as a candidate for an election under this Act only if that person holds, in the case of member of a county assembly, a post-secondary school diploma from an institution recognised in Kenya,” reads the amendment Bill sponsored by Justice and Legal Affairs Committee chairman Samuel Chepkong’a
.MPs will need to have a university degree for next year’s election.The MP and MCA candidates in the 2013 election only needed to have a three-month post-secondary certificate to be eligible to contest.
Attorney General Githu Muigai, former Commission for Implementation of the Constitution chairman Charles Nyachae and the former Law Society of Kenya chairman Eric Mutua were among those who expressed alarm at the low quality of legislation in county assemblies.
Mr Mutua told the Daily Nation last year that it was necessary to ensure those who stood for elections in the counties met a higher level of academic qualification.The last Parliament amended several sections of the Political Parties Act and other electoral laws ahead of the March 2013 General Election, watering down the higher academic qualification requirements.
Another key change in the Chepkong’a amendments is the requirement that public servants who wish to contest in general elections should resign from office at least one year before the poll, up from the current six-month period.This means that public officers looking to vie in the August 8, 2017 polls must vacate office this year in August if the amendments are passed into law.
The laws also propose that the number of voters in a polling station be capped at 700 but the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has a discretion to vary the numbers.“For purposes of providing efficient and effective conduct of elections, the number of voters per polling station shall not exceed 700 or such other number as the commission may determine,” the Bill says.
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