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MPs Reject Bill Setting Presidential Age Limit

Baringo North Member of Parliament William Cheptumo
Baringo North Member of Parliament William Cheptumo, the chairperson of Justice and Legal Affairs committee in parliament

The National Assembly Justice and Legal Affairs committee has dismissed a petition that sought to have the age of presidential candidates capped at 69.

The bill which was filed by Garissa resident Mohamed Mohamud’s was  anchored in ‘scientific argument’ about productivity of older people.

“The rights of the older members of society to fully participate in affairs of the society, pursue personal development, live in dignity and respect free from abuse as enshrined in the Constitution ought to be upheld in equal measure as those of the youth,” the committee chaired by William Cheptumo (Baringo North) said in a report tabled in the House last Thursday.

The MPs argued that barring older people from running for political office would amount to discrimination and violates the Constitution.

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The Constitution does not have an upper presidential age limit.

“The country appears to be celebrating the youth and belittling, disparaging and demeaning the elderly,” added the report.

Mohamud had wanted the Constitution amended to allow “positive discrimination”.

“Though unfortunate, the undeniable reality is that age comes with a fair share of health challenges that are often costly to manage. It’s more desirable to introduce a retirement age which will serve to cushion the republic from unnecessary expenditure and disruptions, as it strives towards eradication of poverty, disease, ignorance and corruption,” he said.

The petition was seen as to be targeting ODM Party Leader Raila Odinga, whose allies have confirmed that he will be on the ballot come 2022.

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Written by Francis Muli

Senior reporter at Kahawa Tungu, Muli has a passion for human interest stories. He believes in unearthing societal rots that have been hidden from the public eye. He has also carved himself a niche in writing business stories. He has worked for various organisations including Kenya Television Service, Business Today among others. Follow him on Twitter @FmuliKE.

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