Deputy president can’t serve as CS, Kingi tells Raila

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ODM leader Raila Odinga erred in saying he will appoint his running mate Martha Karua as the Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Kilifi County Governor Amason Kingi has said.

Kingi, a lawyer by profession, said it will be unconstitutional for a deputy president to hold a cabinet secretary or any other government position.

On May 16, as Raila was unveiling Karua as his running mate, he announced to the public that she will also be in charge of the Justice and Constitutional Ministry.

Kingi said, according to the Kenya Constitution Article 147 (4) on the functions of the Deputy President, “The Deputy President shall not hold any other State or public office.”

He said the Azimio la Umoja- One Kenya Coalition leader Raila and his running mate Karua do not understand the content of the constitution that they must protect once elected in office.

“A President always takes an oath to uphold and protect the constitution, but what is coming out now is that Raila does not understand what is in that constitution. He has promised to appoint his deputy a CS in charge of constitutional affairs, which is unconstitutional,” said Kingi.

On May 16, Raila appointed Karua, who is the Narc Kenya party leader, his running mate after a rigorous interview that saw 11 people interviewed for the position.

Karua’s name was among three that were forwarded to Raila for final decision.

Raila’s decision to name Karua as Cabinet Secretary in charge of Constitutional Affairs, he said, was to carry on with the plans of changing the constitution.

“As a co-worker, I want her to finalize the work of making our Constitution. I will task her with the assignment of completing what we started and I am persuaded that she has the right pair of hands to accomplish this task,” said Raila.

However, Kingi took a swipe at Raila, saying they ought to read and understand the constitution in order to protect it.

“Some of us, who were helping them (in understanding legal matters), have ditched them for Kenya Kwanza. That is why they are making such open blunders,” he said.

At the same time, Kingi, whose Pamoja African Alliance (PAA) party ditched Azimio la Umoja One Kenya for Deputy President William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza Alliance, said the Azimio Coalition does not have the interest of the coastal people at heart.

He said that Raila has refused to make the pre-election agreements public that was signed with other parties within Azimio la Umoja.

“I want to tell you that there is nothing good for the Coastal people in Azimio. I was there and I know what I’m talking about,” said Kingi.

He said to address the issue of land squatters at the coast, the government of the day must come up with strategies that will work.

“It is not about giving the land docket to Coastal people. We have had at least four Ministers from the coast, who were heading the land’s docket. But that did not work, because it has been designed to fail,” said Kingi.

He said the decision by Raila to say that Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho will be appointed Land Cabinet Secretary will not resolve the land problems in the region.

“They are setting Joho to fail. My brother (Joho), those people are not willing to address the land question,” he said.

At Kenya Kwanza, Kingi said, they have already signed a pre-election pact that will see the national government buy land from the absentee landlords for resettlement.

He said every year, the Kenya Kwanza government will set aside a fund for the purchase of land for the relocation of the squatters.

“It does not mean that I must be appointed to head the lands docket. A coastal person does not have to head the land docket, because we already have a signed document that will guide the process,” said Kingi.

“Ours is a signed agreement, not a roadside declaration.”

While addressing the forum, Ruto confirmed that he has a written commitment with PAA on land issues in the region.

“We have agreed that the next government will buy land from absentee landlords, either willingly or by forceful acquisition so that we can resettle our people,” said Ruto.

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