A Kenyan citizen has filed a petition in the High Court seeking to block a directive by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) requiring those keen on elective positions to possess degree certificates.
Gloria Orwoba, a youth policy analyst, specifically wants the Constitutional and Human Rights Division to declare the new requirement discriminatory, regressive, and elitist.
“The implementation of the aforesaid Act, specifically, Section 22 as pertains the requirement for a candidate to have a conventional degree from a recognized university is detrimental to many otherwise eligible Kenyans including the youth, women, the elderly, persons with disabilities and the already marginalized communities,” She said in the petition.
Through her lawyer, Kariuki Karanja, Orwoba, says if the law takes effect, the above-mentioned groups are in danger of being locked out of presenting themselves for leadership positions due to the fact that they may not possess a conventional degree from a recognized university.
“The Election Act has perpetuated discrimination against many Kenyans who may qualify as good leaders by failing to recognize and equating various academic qualifications, training skills and merits,” She charged.
She maintains that the law is in bad taste to an extent that it fails to recognize any other form of training or competence other than a conventional degree. She says Kenya at the moment only has less than 2 percent of the population who have attained education to the university level. As such, the youth policy analyst says the coming into force of the Act will effectively lock out 98 percent of the Kenyan population from vying in both National Assembly and County elective positions.
What’s more, Orwoba who is also the country coordinator of the Global Youth Parliament organization, says the latest statistics from the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) show that only 16 per cent of 2020 KCPE candidates will have the privilege to be absorbed in universities for degree programmes.
“It’s a matter of fact that 83.6 percent of the 2020 KCSE candidates will be locked out and will have to enroll in other technical training programmes,” Orwoba pleaded with the court.
As an advocate of youth in politics, she insists that it is neither reasonable nor justifiable to lockout Kenyans, specifically, the youths and other marginalized persons from vying to be representatives of their people just because they do not possess a conventional degree.
The aspiring Member of Parliament for Bobasi in 2022 says IEBC should be compelled to recognize any form of training, qualification, competence, knowledge, and attitudes acquired from the country’s institutions of learning.
Over and above that, she reiterates that the Constitution provides that every person is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and equal benefit of the law.
“The law prohibits any form of discrimination,” she says
She further laid grounds demonstrating violation of articles of the Constitution which provide that every citizen has a right to be a candidate for public office or office within a political party of which he is a member.