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New Cabinet Secretary Omamo Called For Dialogue On Gay Rights

in KENYA, 26/04/2013

The new Cabinet Secretary for Defence, Raychelle Omamo once called on dialogue on gay rights when she applied for the position of Deputy Chief Justice (DCJ).

Omamo was unvelied today at State House, Nairobi when President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy, William Ruto released 12 other nominees to their 18-member Cabinet.

The new list has five women and seven men, bringing the number of women nominated so far to six, and men 10.

Omamo, who served as the former Chair of the Law Society of Kenya (LSK), during the televised DCJ interviews in mid February this year, came out to say that lesbianism and homosexuality should be subjected to greater public dialogue to reach a lasting solution.

She also said that she would make rulings on any case involving homosexuality that came to her if she was appointed as the DCJ.

(READ: Another Deputy CJ Candidate Calls For Dialogue On Homosexuality)

However, she did not make it as Justice Kaplana Rawal was picked by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to replace Nancy Baraza who resigned when a tribunal found her guilty of 'gross misconduct' after an incident in a shopping mall.

Justice Kaplana is awaiting Parliament's vetting and approval the President appoints her officially.

Before her appointment in 2003 as Kenya's Ambassador to France, Ms Omamo was a former Chairperson of the Law Society of Kenya and a leading legal practitioner in Kenya.

She made history as the first woman to become the Chairperson of the Law Society of Kenya and has served as an ambassador for Kenya to Portugal and France.

She joins Ann Waiguru (Devolution and Planning), Judi Wakhungu (Environment, Water and Natural Resource), Charity Ngilu (Land, Housing and Urban Development), Amina Mohamed (Foreign Affairs) and Phyllis Kandie (East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism) who were nominated on Thursday to the coveted Cabinet Secretary posts.

“We have taken great care to ensure that as much as possible we have reached all the corners of this country. We have tried to ensure that we have gender balance,” President Kenyatta said.

Reacting to the news of Ms Omamo's appointment and the push for gender balance, feminist Alice Nthoki said that this showed 'favorable' progress to raising the profile of women.

'I applaud the President for considering gender equality in this; we have strong women who have been given Ministries that require firmness and which have great responsibility. I think Kenyatta's cabinet is the only one in Kenya's history to have this many women. We are on the right track.'

Former Mvita MP and a partner in the Jubilee Coalition Najib Balala has been picked to be in charge of Mining, while Barclays Bank Chief Administrative Officer for Africa Adan Mohamed is to head the Industrialisation and Enterprise Development docket.

United Republican Party Secretary General Davis Chirchir is the nominee for Energy and Petroleum, as University of Nairobi Deputy Vice Chancellor Jacob Kaimenyi was nominated to the Education docket.

Former Roads Permanent Secretary Michael Kamau is the nominee Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure while National Museums of Kenya Director Hassan Wario is to become the Secretary for Sports, Culture and Arts.

Felix Kiptarus Kosgey was nominated as Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries respectively.

Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto are yet to announce the nominees for two ministries- Interior and Coordination of National Government; and Labour, Social Security and Services.

On Tuesday, the two announced Fred Okengo, Henry Rotich, James Wainaina and Amina Mohammed as the Cabinet Secretaries in charge of ICT, the National Treasury, Health and Foreign Affairs respectively.

Here is a list of the full Cabinet:

  1. Fred Matiang'i (Information, Communication and Technology (ICT),
  2. Henry K. Rotich (The National Treasury)
  3. James Wainaina Macharia (Health)
  4. Amb Amina Mohamed (Foreign Affairs)
  5. Adan Mohammed (Industrialisation)
  6. Ann Waiguru (Devolution and Planning)
  7. Davis Chirchir (Energy and Petroleum)
  8. Amb. Raychelle Omamo (Defence)
  9. Eng. Michael Kamau (Transport and Infrastructure)
  10. Phyllis Chepkosgey (East African affairs, Commerce and Tourism)
  11. Prof. Jacob Kaimenyi (Education)
  12. Felix Kosgey (Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries)
  13. Prof. Judy Wakhungu (Environment Water and Natural Resources)
  14. Dr. Hassan Wario (Sports, Culture and Arts)
  15. Najib Balala (Mining)
  16. Charity Ngilu (Lands, Housing and Urban Development)
  17. Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Services (Vacant)
  18. Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government (Vacant)
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