20 March 2013

Kenya: I Already Quit Cabinet - Mutula

Nairobi — Mutula Kilonzo on Wednesday said he had already vacated the Education Ministry, and is now waiting to be sworn in as the Makueni Senator.

Kilonzo was reacting to a directive issued on Tuesday by President Mwai Kibaki that all Ministers and Assistant Ministers elected to the positions of Governor, Senator, Member of Parliament or Woman Representative should resign.

Kilonzo told Capital FM News on phone that he cleared his desk at the Ministry of Education on Wednesday last week when Senator's names were gazetted.

He stated that he didn't have to wait for President Kibaki to remind him to relinquish his post as Education Minister.

"I don't need prompting! I've already left the ministry and I am now waiting to know when the swearing date for senator is," Kilonzo stated.

It was however not clear if he has given up ministry vehicles and bodyguards attached to him as Education Minister.

Under the Constitution, individuals cannot hold two State offices and ministers would therefore be required to vacate their Cabinet seats before taking oath for their new elective offices.

Close to 20 ministers are set to leave their Cabinet positions before they are sworn in as Senators, Governors or MPs.

Also expected to quit their posts are 19 assistant ministers who will be sworn in to various seats in ceremonies scheduled for Thursday next week.

Among those expected to forego their seats are Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi who became Meru Senator, Planning Minister Wycliffe Oparanya who was elected Kakamega Governor and Amason Kingi who was elected Kilifi Governor. Others are Medical Services Minister Anyang' Nyong'o, Lands Minister James Orengo and Trade Minister Moses Wetangula among others.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga has however differed with the president's directive that all ministers elected should resign immediately, terming it as unconstitutional.

Odinga says such individuals should remain in office until a new president is sworn in because the grand coalition government is still intact.

Legal advice given to the government earlier by Attorney General Githu Muigai showed that the directive was constitutional.

In an opinion issued last week, Muigai had said that the ministers will lose the right to remain in Cabinet because they would have to take another oath of office in the new posts.

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