|Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu|
By Geoffrey Mosoku
Machakos, Kenya: Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu is in a spot over what may be perceived as engaging in politics contrary to her commitment before being appointed.
On Sunday, Ngilu introduced widow of late Makueni senator Mutula Kilonzo, Nduku, to President Uhuru Kenyatta in Machakos. Ms Ngilu’s introduction of Nduku to the President was interpreted as sending a signal that she would be preferred as a possible replacement for her husband.
While unveiling the Jubilee Cabinet, President Uhuru told Kenyans that the condition for appointment of Ngilu and Najib Balala, who had unsuccessfully vied for the Kitui and Mombasa senatorial seats respectively, was on condition of keeping off politics.
It is clear which role the Cabinet Secretary will play in Jubilee campaigns for the Makueni seat, a region where she was the ruling coalition’s point person during the last polls.
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Both the Constitution and Elections Act bar State officers from engaging in active politics, which is not limited only to vying for elective posts but also participating in political party activities such as campaigns.
During vetting by the parliamentary Committee on Appointments, the former Kitui Central legislator said she had already resigned as the party leader of the National Rainbow Coalition. Ngilu said she would suspend her involvement in political activities for the duration that she will serve in the Cabinet.
But she explained her docket would in some instances require her to make political decisions. “The question is if I will still be addressing rallies; but that I will keep for next time. We have separated Parliament from the Executive and I will perform the duties assigned to a cabinet secretary,” she said.
Such is the dilemma facing Ngilu and her Jubilee Coalition ahead of campaigns for the Makueni senate by-election.