Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya Alliance running mate Martha Karua has defended the coalition's agreement to appoint her in the position that would culminate in her doubling up as the country's Deputy President and the Cabinet Secretary for Justice.
Karua said any suggestions that holding the two positions would be illegal are misguided and not anchored in the law.
"Thinking that this is an oppressive thing is wrong and misleading. If you look at what a Deputy President does, it is to be the principal assistant of the President and perform any other duties assigned by the President," Karua said.
"The Azimio government would be a government that upholds the rule of law and constitutionalism, so it is not a contradiction for a deputy president to have additional responsibilities assigned by the president," she added.
In the same breath, Karua defended the place of women in the Azimio government in case they took power in the August 9 polls.
"When Raila says that he believes in 50/50 (gender-equal cabinet/government), he has already demonstrated it. For the competition to claim that they commit to doing the same, where have they demonstrated?" she said.
Article 27(8) of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 provides that the State shall take steps to ensure that not more than two-thirds of members of all elective and appointive positions are not of the same gender. Over ten years after the promulgation of the Constitution of Kenya 2010, specific legislation to operationalize this constitutional provision on gender equality has yet to be enacted.
Karua's appointment as running mate for Raila Odinga
"My principal appointed me as his deputy, that's a demonstration of the commitment, and that shows you the commitment of Azimio to women's issues runs deep. We will go beyond implementing the two-thirds gender rule," she added.
The current 12th Parliament (National Assembly and Senate) consists of 416 members. Of this total, 97 members are women representing 23.3 percent of the total membership, less than the two-thirds gender rule.
Out of the current 21 cabinet secretaries, there are six female cabinet secretaries, with one of them holding two dockets.