Parliament rejects proposal to lock Raila from polls

Members of Parliament have rejected as discriminatory a proposal to set the age limit for presidential candidates at 70.

In its report to Parliament, the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee chaired by William Cheptumo (Baringo North) said political offices were unique and, therefore, should not have a retirement age.

The report was in response to a petition by one Mohammed Sheikh from Wajir, who had sought to amend the law to bar Kenyans above 70 years from contesting the presidency.

The petition had been received with heavy criticism, with MPs allied to Opposition leader Raila Odinga claiming it was a scheme to lock out the former premier from the 2022 presidential race.

“...the prayer to amend Article 137 of the Constitution on the qualifications for legibility to run for election as president and to set the retirement age of the president at the age of 70 years be disallowed as it is discriminatory,” the report read in part.

“Certain State officers such as judges and magistrates are subjected to a retirement age, except political offices because these are unique offices of leadership and wisdom, both traits that advance with age."

The committee noted that while there was a growing trend to celebrate the youth, there was also a tendency of 'belittling, disparaging and demeaning the elderly'. “To require that such persons cannot run for political office owing to their age would be tantamount to discrimination."

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