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NAIROBI, Kenya Feb 25- The High Court has temporarily suspended a section of the election law that bars political aspirants without university degrees from seeking parliamentary seats.
Justice Anthony Mrima suspended section 22(1) (b)(I) of the Election Act, pending the hearing of a petition filed by four residents of Narok, who argue that the law is discriminatory.
The implementation date of the law has been postponed several times and was set to take effect in the forthcoming General Election.
In 2017, members of the National Assembly amended section 22 of the Election Act that dictates minimum academic qualifications for sitting and aspiring lawmakers.
According to the changes, MP aspirants are required to have a minimum bachelor’s degree before they are cleared to contest.
Justice Mrima however directed the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to clear aspirants who want to contest but do not have degrees.
“Pending the determination of the notice of motion herein, IEBC shall issue the petitioners herein and any other person intending to vie for the position of MP with a conditional clearance subject to the outcome of this petition and upon satisfying the rest of the conditions as imposed by IEBC,” the court said.
The four aspirants argued that they want to contest for parliamentary election in the forthcoming polls on the UDA party ticket. They said the party has asked aspirants to submit their applications by February 28.
And since they do not have degrees, the requirement would lock them out.
The four aspirants say the degree requirement for MPs fails to take into consideration other qualifications recognised under the Kenya Qualifications Framework Act of 2014 and the Regulations passed in 2018.
“The petitioners are thus aggrieved that the said section is discriminatory, promotes inequality and inequity and ought to be declared unconstitutional as pleaded in the petition,” the petition reads.
The case will be heard on March 17.