MPs fight to block varsity degrees law
Posted Thursday, June 21 2012 at 23:30
- Legislators sign petition as reality of regulation start to sink in amid widening divide
MPs on Thursday frantically tried to find a way to reverse the new requirement that all parliamentary aspirants in the next General Election should be university graduates as the reality of an amendment they had made earlier in the day began to sink.
At least 75 MPs have signed a petition in which they are seeking to reverse the decision reached earlier during the morning session on Thursday.
Apparently, most MPs did not understand the import of the changes they made to the Statute (Miscellaneous Amendment) Bill following amendments by Deputy Leader of Government Business Amos Kimunya and Yatta MP Charles Kilonzo.
An MP who is among the group that intends to petition the Speaker said they plan to have the changes to the Elections Act reversed, terming them “grossly unfair.”
The petition heightened the controversy surrounding the academic requirements which are contained in the Elections Act for the second day running.
On Wednesday, MPs passed an amendment to the elections law to remove the requirement that presidential, parliamentary and senator aspirants must have university degrees.
It was meant to allow current MPs and councillors to defend their seats without being subjected to the education qualification requirements.
The night amendment was introduced by Bura MP Abdi Nuh and passed.
However, on Thursday morning the new provision was deleted following an amendment proposed by Mr Kimunya who argued that MPs must hold high academic qualifications since they will play a major oversight role and determine the quality of holders of constitutional offices.
The minister had, however argued that aspirants in the next General Election be exempted from the academic requirements but the same be observed strictly in 2017.
He argued that this will serve as a reprieve for current legislators and councillors who would have a chance to use the five years to study and acquire the relevant academic papers. Assistant Minister Peter Munya, opposed the degree proposal saying Form Four education was sufficient to produce a competitive leader.
“If you don’t have qualifications you will miss five years,” said Public Service Minister Dalmas Otieno while supporting the degrees provision.