Tuesday, September 9, 2008



September 9, 2008
One- On- One
The Standard

Two weeks ago, Igembe South MP Mithika Linturi held a news conference at Parliament Buildings where he disclosed that he had filed a Motion seeking to limit the age of presidential candidates to 65. Mr Linturi on his views.

QUESTION: Why do you want to set an age limit for those seeking to be president?

ANSWER: We want to have vibrant leaders at the helm and end the culture where top leadership remains the preserve of old men and women.

QUESTION: Are there countries where such a law has been applied?

ANSWER: In most countries, the terms are determined by the constitution. If the constitution stipulates two or other terms in office, it should be respected.

QUESTION: You supported President Kibaki’s re-election despite knowing he was over 65. Why have you changed?

ANSWER: I have never supported Kibaki and my political record is open for scrutiny. Those saying so are simply attempting to divert attention.

QUESTION: How did you arrive at 65 as the age limit and not 50 or 64?

ANSWER: These are the issues that will come out when the Bill is debated in Parliament. Be patient.

QUESTION: Why set the limit for presidential candidates and not for MPs and councillors?

ANSWER: The Bill will exhaustively tackle the issue. Otherwise, I encourage the public to debate it and give me feedback on what more needs to be done.

QUESTION: Some say it would require a constitutional amendment and, if so, what does that mean to you?

ANSWER: These are the issues I said earlier need to be left for debate in the House.

QUESTION: How would the age limit work in a parliamentary system where government is headed by the leader of a majority party?

ANSWER: I want MPs to deliberate on these issues in Parliament. I would not want to talk about them in the media. Just wait until Parliament reconvenes.

QUESTION: Your critics say you are targeting specific contenders?

ANSWER: Absolutely not. Even those saying I’m targeting Raila Odinga are off the mark. Raila is my political hero and role model. I am simply pushing to ensure the retirement age of the President is brought in line with that of other constitutional office holders and civil servants.

QUESTION: What good would come out of having younger presidents?

ANSWER: It will end the culture of making Parliament a dumping ground for retirees who end up seeking higher political offices.

QUESTION: What are the chances of this Bill passing in Parliament?

ANSWER: I have received a lot of support on the Bill and I’m confident MPs will see the sense in it. Let’s wait and see.