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Must our leaders be degree holders or not?

02 July 2012, 13:57 Christoper Wallace

The question of whether or not aspiring leaders in the forthcoming elections must satisfy the condition of being degree holders has been the word in the streets in the past week.

Citizens from various quotas have however voiced their opinions regarding the subject which caught 80 MPs sitting in the current Parliament by surprise as to whether they shall be ruled out in seeking for votes in the forthcoming general elections or they may be locked out.

In what has emerged to be a norm in the August house, MPs decided to reinstate a provision in the Elections Act which outlined that those interested in seeking for positions of governors, MPs, senators and presidential posts must be degree holders in order to satisfy the condition of contesting for such position. But judging the whole issue from a brighter perspective, the move isn’t about giving the degree holders a free ticket of assuming such positions.

The degrees may as well be added advantage in embracing academic qualifications. However, the core agenda which should be addressed on the table is whether the said leaders hold the aspirations of the people who give them the ticket to occupy those positions. Are the aspirants going to uphold to ethical standards, accepted code of conduct, high moral standards and utmost integrity?

On the other hand, it has been argued that a good political leader is one can be able to offer solutions to his people’s grievances. How will he be able to manage the people’s welfare given the fact that he cannot attend to his/her personal problems first; academic problems? How would such a leader steer up the implementation of the new constitution with no academic backing? How would such a leader make viable proposals in the house that could kick start the vast economy and help create employment opportunities for the many graduates still languishing for employment?  Well, these are some of the many question Kenyans have posed with regards to the issue in support of the implementation of the Act.

From a different angle altogether, it may be nullified that the absurdity of having such provisions shouldn’t stand any test in any given competent court under a democratic state such as Kenya. This is due to the fact that the lack of foresight that was required in drafting such recommendations is always set to take several divergent angles.

Notably enough is the fact that Kenya has been a place where matters to deal with educational advancement have been pointed to as biasness and wealth centered. Denying non-degree holders an opportunity to serve the government would be attributed to flaw due to inequality which has stood through the test of time since time immemorial. Moreover, it relays sustenance of a vicious cycle where the well-off could only have their way into the universities irrespective of other like-minded counterparts who lack the means to access similar institutions.

To something which may be haunting the principal of universal human rights, it may be noble to argue that education alone cannot stand out as the gauge of political elitism and leadership standards especially when dealing with a civic institutions. Kenya has had potential leaders who’ve positively contributed to the well-being of the nation and bore forth great political milestones and achievements.

It’s would be an intentional assault on human rights, democratic ideals and the basic principle of human rights to enforce such an Act. It would be upon the voters to exercise their democratic right and make the decisive vote that they so badly want.  If they shall be opting to embark on wisdom over the arrogance of a university graduate; degree holder; democracy would have to take centre stage.

All these notwithstanding, it has been argued by many that the educational requirements that the country adopted over the years have been used to disguise elitism and instead aimed at maintaing power and governance in the hands of wealthy in society.

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