Jubilee to limit age for presidential candidate in referendum
KISUMU, Kenya, Aug 2 – Jubilee Coalition has now shifted stand on the referendum being pushed by Coalition for Reforms and Democracy and are now considering issues they would like to be included in the vote.
Speaking in Kisumu, The National Alliance (TNA) Secretary General Onyango Oloo says the Jubilee Coalition is consulting and will add more questions for vote in case Kenyans wish for the referendum.
Among the issues the ruling coalition want Kenyans to vote on includes confining the presidential race to person below the age of 65 years.
“We are not afraid of this referendum, the Jubilee Coalition is consulting seriously and vigorously and we will soon table before you issues that we would want Kenyans to look at, they may include and not be limited to restricting old men beyond the age of 65 from contesting the presidency,” Oloo said.
The Jubilee Coalition proposal could however face challenges as it might be considered to be in violation of the Bill of Rights which in Article 27(4) prohibits the State from discriminating anyone on the basis of various attributes including age.
The Constitution sets 35 year as the minimum age for any person who wished to be nominated for election as the President.
If the proposal sailed through, then CORD Leader Raila Odinga would be barred for running in the 2017 elections.
Odinga, who lost to President Uhuru Kenyatta in March 2013 poll, will be 72 years by the time the country holds its next General Election.
The Jubilee proposal is not the first time that attempts have been made to set a maximum limit for presidential candidates. A similar proposal was contained in the Bomas draft of 2004 which had set the maximum age limit at 70 years but this was scrapped during subsequent debate.
The opposition last month named four experts to lead a team that will craft the referendum question.
The four member team will have the mandate to ensure that the formulation, framing and preparation of the referendum process meets the constitutional threshold and does not infringe on any human right or discriminate any particular person, community, clan and religion.
The major aspects that the experts are to focus on include the disbandment of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), increase of national budgetary allocation to the counties not to be less than 40 per cent, how the government should handle economic hard times that has made it difficult for ordinary citizen to access basic commodities and services.