The debate on whether our MPs should have a degree to be elected has stirred controversy in a country where a majority of citizens are educated, but most do not have degrees.
All Kenyan presidential, gubernatorial and Senate aspirants in the next General Election will be required to have degrees to run for office.
Those vying to sit in the County Assembly— save for the governor and his deputy —will also be required to have post-secondary education. The law prescribes that the Governor and the deputy must have degrees.
This in effect implies that a number of the currently serving MPs who only hold secondary school qualifications and post-secondary diplomas will not vie in the next election, paving the way for their more qualified opponents come next year’s elections.
But is a degree crucial for sound leadership? History has shown that leadership may not require high academic qualifications such as degree or PHD. Example of leaders and innovators that have shaped the world, but did not have high academic qualifications include Bill Gates, former British Prime Minister John Major, and Apple founder, Steve Jobs.
For instance Steve Jobs — who passed away last year — was an American businessman, designer and inventor. He is best known as the co-founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Apple Inc. Through Apple, he was widely recognised as a charismatic pioneer of the personal computer revolution, and for his influential career in the computer and consumer electronics fields.
Jobs, who left behind estimated $8.3 billion (Sh7.055 trillion), used to dismiss people’s interest in his wealth.
“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me ... Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful ... That’s what matters to me,” he once said.
Academically, he did not have lofty qualifications but he was successful nonetheless.
On the flip side, academic qualifications are important when one is seeking a job.