By Stephene Rutto
The laws requiring elected leaders to meet academic qualifications should be scrapped, Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen said yesterday.
He said these laws are discriminative. Murkomen said voters have the right to elect people with leadership qualifications, without looking at their academic credentials.
He said the law has forced governor hopefuls to acquire degrees through questionable means.
Murkomen expressed sympathy with Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and other leaders over tribulations they have undergone to meet the academic qualifications to be elected governors.
He said on a Facebook page, “I totally agree that academic success is not the only measure for success in life.
“I know in Kenya a person who scores a D- cannot even qualify to serve in any sector of our armed forces.
“I have argued before that those who want to be elected to office should have the academic qualifications determined by the voters. My argument is that the voter is wiser and knows what he wants.”
He said the legal requirements for elective offices are forcing many people running for office to commit crimes, including forging academic documents, just to get the chance to fulfill their leadership dreams.
On January 5 during the debate on the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill 2016 in the Senate, Murkomen demanded the scrapping of clauses to be implemented in 2022 that set thresholds on qualifications required for each elective office.
Governor and president hopefuls are required to be degree-holders to qualify to run for office.
“Who are we to come here and legislate that a person is not qualified to run for office. Let citizens sit down and decide the person they wish to elect,” he said during the debate.
Murkomen expressed concern over numerous fake degrees acquired by politicians. He said some leaders have doctorate degrees but do not exhibit competencies that match the academic qualifications they claim to possess.
“Some people have degrees but can’t even construct a sentence,” he added.
The IEBC has set up a technical team to verify the credibility of education papers presented by politicians.