Why MPs Ngunjiri and Sudi are Likely to miss on the ballot

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Bahati MP Onesmus Kimani Ngunjiri and his Kapseret counterpart Oscar Sudi will not be on the ballot if the announcement by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) that MP candidates must have degrees.

The commission on Tuesday  said that candidates vying for MP must have degrees and that the decision can only be reversed by the court.

In a letter responding to UDA Secretary general Veronica Maina, IEBC chief executive Marjan Hussein said the law requiring MPs to have degrees is still in force.

“Unless declared unconstitutional by the Court, the degree requirement for Members of Parliament is in force and is trite law,” he said.

“Section 22 of the Elections Act, 2011 speaks to the requirement of Members of Parliament and Members of the County Assembly to possess a degree from a university recognized in Kenya. This law is in force for the purposes of the General Election 2022.”

Maina had written to the Commission requesting for information on qualifications and requirements for candidates across all elective posts.

IEBC said there is no educational requirement in respect of MCA aspirants after the High Court in a judgement on constitutional petition No. E229 of 2021 on October 15, 2021 declared section 22(1)(6)(i) of the Elections Act unconstitutional.

“For clarity, the Court effectively nullified the requirement that a person must possess a degree from a university recognized in Kenya to qualify to be a Member of a County Assembly.”

The electoral body went on to say that aspirants for the position of President, Deputy President, Governor, and Deputy Governor must possess a degree from a university recognised in Kenya.

 The law, whose implementation date has been postponed several times, is set to take effect in the August elections. Members of the National Assembly in 2017 amended section 22 of the Election Act that prescribed minimum academic qualifications for lawmakers at both levels of government.

Onesmus Kimani Ngunjiri is another legislator who will face the axe if indeed the law comes into effect. Not only does he have no degree, but some have even cast doubt on his Secondary School certificate.

This means that his opponents can easily have a field day in winning the Bahati parliamentary seat for a long time.