ODM new proposal for candidates stirs storm

ODM secretary general Edwin Sifuna addresses party officials at Chungwa House in Nairobi. [Courtesy]

The move by ODM party to raise the requirement on education for candidates seeking its ticket in 2022 may kill the dreams of many politicians.

The Raila Odinga-led party, in a number of electoral reforms it has begun implementing, wants those who will seek its ticket for the coming and future elections to have a university degree.
Those to be affected include those seeking nomination for the Member of County Assembly (MCA), the National Assembly and the Senate.
This will affect many politicians as the current Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) had let them off the hook. Only those seeking the presidential and gubernatorial seats were required to have a Bachelor’s degree.

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University of Eldoret lecturer Prof James ole Kiyiapi said there is no correlation between education and leadership and challenged political parties to ensure strict adherence to their current nomination rules before thinking of new ones.
“Leadership is character and nothing else. The problem in Kenya is skewed nomination which is done favouring personal relationships than merit,” Prof Kiyiapi, a former Education permanent secretary said.
He recalled the past where Parliament had MPs with modest education but had a robust discussion that focused on the well-being of the country as opposed to the current crop of MPs.
But ODM chairman John Mbadi maintains the proposal, if adopted by the top party organ, would boost the level and quality of House debates more so at the county assemblies.

Prof Egara Kabaji of Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology and Jonathan Wesaya, an education expert, agree that an academic certificate is important in politics but there should be other parameters used to gauge the leaders.

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