High Court okays governor candidates to contest with no degree
The Kenyan High Court has ruled that the provision of the legislation requiring candidates for governorship to have a degree is unconstitutional.
Justice Anthony Mrima, who delivered the ruling, ordered that the criteria for both MCA and Governor should be similar.
“A declaration hereby issued that Section 22(2) of the elections act contravenes Article 180(2) by creating an avenue for differentiation between the eligibility requirements between MCAs and County governors hence to that extent its unconstitutional,” Mrima ruled.
According to the act, the president, vice president, county governor, and deputy must all hold a degree recognized in Kenya in order to be considered for the position.
The declarations resulted from a petition filed by voter Victor Buoga in June 2022, asking the court to overturn the statute requiring governor aspirants to have a university degree.
The voter told the court, through lawyer Harry Stephen Arunda, that it was unlawful for the electoral commission to demand university degree credentials from anyone nominated to run for governorship seats.
According to Mr Arunda, Article 180(2) states that an aspirant “must be eligible for election as MCA in order to be eligible for election as county governor.”
He said that because MCA candidates were allowed to run without a university degree, gubernatorial candidates should not have been disqualified for the exact same reason.
Tens of governor candidates have already been barred from running in the last three general elections due to degree requirements. In the recent election, Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja appeared in court to prove the legitimacy of his degree. The petition was eventually dismissed by the High Court due to a lack of evidence.
The new rule will take effect during the next general election in 2027.