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MAKORI: How DP can also be a Cabinet Secretary

 There is a concern that if Azimio la Umoja wins, then it will be impossible to make Deputy President designate Martha Karua a Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Legal Affairs because she will be the Deputy President already. I think that's not true, in my opinion.


Azimio la Umoja Presidential Running Mate Martha Karua. Photo/COURTESY

A DP can also serve as a cabinet secretary under our constitution. All the President needs to do is to sign an executive order that assigns the DP ministerial roles and powers. Thus, the DP will be referred to as The Deputy President and Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Legal Affairs when in Kenya.

The DP is a member of the cabinet and other than performing functions of the president under specified circumstances, the holder of the office takes assignments directly from the president (article 147).

The President has the authority to alter the cabinet structure to fit the 14 to 22 brackets as provided by the constitution. The alterations do not create roles for people other than members of the cabinet where the DP sits and serves. 

By virtue of that, the president can therefore assign the DP any ministerial role. However, unlike other members of the cabinet, the DP will not be subjected to approval by parliament as a requirement to assume the role(s) assigned. The previous constitution allowed the Vice President to be a cabinet minister.

Article 147 does not however permit the DP to hold any other state or public office. This means the office has to be one, or appear to be one, at all times. To me this is a matter of grammar - the office will be just one.

The Office of the Deputy President and Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Legal Affairs will be the recognized title of the said office. THE is a definite article which is also a referent for the office that the DP and the CS for Justice will hold. This means the two could be different, or are actually different, roles. However, the use of the coordinating conjunction 'AND' combines the two to be one but gives room for separability - which could be in terms of assignments or recognition in other jurisdictions.


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