This was what the MPs jealously guarded, even to the point of locking out their colleagues without degrees and blocking presidential candidates from running for any other elective post.
The President seems to have acted against the backdrop of mounting public pressure and, especially, the civil society over what they saw as subversion of the spirit and letter of the Constitution. There are also court cases accusing Parliament of acting outside its powers.
The President communicated his decision after Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka spoke the same language, particularly on preference for removal of barriers against non-degree holders. This was a further sign there had been discussions high up in Government on the matter.
The two could only have been communicating what had been agreed. The MPs, some of who had complained they passed the amendments without knowing the impact on them, will now have another opportunity to review their decision.
While declining assent to the Statute Law (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2012 that contained the controversial changes, President Kibaki said changing parties was subject of various court cases.
“The President refused to sign into law the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2012 in exercise of the powers conferred on him by Section 46 (3) of the former Constitution,” added the memorandum.
The President said the cases were still pending in court and in keeping with doctrine of separation of powers, matters before court should not be subject of parliamentary legislation.
On university degrees for those vying for president, deputy president, governor, and senate, Kibaki said the matter was also the subject of a court case Johnstone Muthama filed.
The Kagundo MP is challenging the original provisions relating to the requirement of post-secondary qualifications to vie for elective posts.
Kibaki cited the principle of separation of powers and recommended that the section be deleted from the Bill.