Questions on MCAs seeking parliamentary seats

Nyandarua County Speaker has gone to court seeking an interpretation of the constitution on whether a Member of County Assembly (MCA) can vie for the position of a National Assembly legislator.

In a suit filed against the Attorney General as well as the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Mr Wahome Ndegwa said the matter will directly have an implication in the August 8 polls.

The Constitution provides that a person is disqualified from being elected as an MP if the person is an MCA. That a speaker of a County Assembly is an ex-official member and that state officers include MCAs, governors with their deputies as well as county executives.

The Elections Act on the other hand requires a public officer intending to participate in an election to resign at least six months before the polls except for MCAs.

SUSAN KIHIKA

Mr Ndegwa claimed that he seeks an interpretation because her colleague, Nakuru Speaker Susan Kihika was dragged to the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal by independent candidate Margaret Wanjiru on grounds that she was ineligible to vie since she had not yet resigned and is still in office.

The tribunal declared she was ineligible to contest in the coming elections but she challenged the verdict at the High Court where she obtained a reprieve.

At the High Court, Justice George Odunga ruled that the tribunal had no jurisdiction to hear and determine the matter.

Through Prof Tom Ojienda, Mr Ndegwa claimed that the matter on interpretation of the section of the law that bars MCA’s from vying as MPs remained unsettled.

PUBLIC OFFICES

“Mr Ndegwa is apprehensive that similar issues are bound to surface before and after the August 8 General Election as there is apparently a clear misinterpretation of the Constitution by all and sundry through a literal interpretation of the same,” said Prof Ojienda.

He argues that the law as it is, can only mean that an MCA cannot be allowed to run for elections as an MP if the effect would be to have the aspirant hold office of a legislator concurrently with that of the MCA.

He further claimed that the law bars one from holding two public offices concurrently and more specifically being an MCA and concurrently an MP.

He alleged that the court needs to also interpret on the expiry of the terms of incumbent Speakers because the law provides for a five-year period.

END OF TERM

He alleged that the Constitution is silent on the exact date when the term of the sitting MCA expires while it indicates that of Parliament terminates on the date of the next General Election.

“Consequently a sitting Speaker having been duly nominated as a party nominee for MP cannot be deemed to be an MCA for the purposes of Article 99(2) of the Constitution which provides that a person is disqualified from being elected as an MP if the person is an MCA,” he added.

Mr Ndegwa wants the court to declare that MCAs including county speakers term expires on the date of the General Election and that an MCA is eligible to be elected as MP.

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