Opposition chief Raila Odinga has received a boost after MPs rejected a proposal that would have locked him out of the presidential race in 2022 due to his age.
Mohammed Sheikh, a Wajir County resident, had presented a petition before the National Assembly seeking to have the Constitution amended to curtail Kenyans above 70 years from running for the presidency.
The petition had been received with heavy criticism, with MPs allied to the 73-year-old ODM leader Raila Odinga, alleging that it was a scheme to lock him out from contesting.
But members of parliament have thrown out the proposal saying it is discriminatory.
“The prayer to amend Article 137 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 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,” says a report by the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee.
The National Assembly Committee, chaired by William Cheptumo (Baringo North), said political offices are unique and, therefore, should not have a retirement age.
“Certain State officers such as Judges and Magistrates are subjected to a retirement age except for political offices because these are unique offices of leadership and wisdom, both traits that advance with age,” states the report.
“To require that such persons cannot run for political office owing to their age would be tantamount to discriminations,” adds the report.
“Indeed some elder members of society are fruitful and very productive in their old age,” the report notes.