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Overqualified? All MCAs with PhD lose re-election

An MCA ballot box filled with votes. [Silas Otieno, Standard]

Meru County Assembly boasted a good number of PhD holders in the last assembly, but none has been re-elected.

Only nine of the 45 elected MCAs at the assembly made it back, most of them through former Governor Kiraitu Murungi’s Devolution Empowerment Party (DEP). Surprisingly, all the PhD holders lost their reelection bid.

The last assembly had several PhD holders and students, and a good number of master’s and bachelor's degree holders.

Immediate former Assembly Speaker Joseph Kaberia had expressed interest to retain the seat before pulling out. He is on record as saying academic qualifications determine performance.

Dr Kaberia earned his PhD from Kenya Methodist University (KeMU).

“I think the education levels of the people in an organisation have some correlation with their understanding of issues and their ultimate performance.

But, clearly, voters in Meru disregarded that view and handed PhD holders a defeat in the polls.

Dr David Kaithia, who earned his PhD from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technolog, bit the dust in Akithi Ward, where he lost to Mwenda Ithili of DEP.

Dr Julius Mbijjiwe who got his PhD from the University of Nairobi lost his Mwanganthia Ward to Joseph Njuki, also of DEP.

PhD student Patrick Mwirigi of Abogeta East was felled by Haroun Thuranira of UDA.

However, another PhD student Dennis Kiogora“DMK” of Abogeta West retained his seat.

Former Municipality MCA and Deputy Speaker Elias Murega, another PhD student, lost the North Imenti parliamentary seat to Rahim Dawood, an independent candidate.

“We had faith in our MCA in 2017 because he had a PhD. But we are disappointed because there are no development projects and it is because he failed to represent us effectively,” said Kirimi Baariu, a voter.

Gregory Mutwiri said: “The Meru assembly was admired because of the big number of PhD and master’s holders. But the fact that only nine MCAs made it back speaks volumes. We voted based on ability to deliver, not education”.