Kenya president appoints Martha Koome as country’s first-ever female Chief Justice News
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Kenya president appoints Martha Koome as country’s first-ever female Chief Justice

Through a special gazette notice on Wednesday, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta confirmed the appointment of Lady Justice Martha Koome as the Country’s inaugural female Chief Justice (CJ).

The presidential appointment marks one of the final stages of the rigorous recruitment exercise, which was occasioned by the retirement of her immediate predecessor, David Maraga late last year. This appointment is indeed historic in several respects. Firstly, it marks the first-ever ascension of a female CJ to the judiciary’s helm. Additionally, the appointment has also made the Supreme Court the only top organ of government that is constitutionally compliant with the hitherto elusive gender parity rule.

The CJ, who was officially officially sworn in Friday, brings to the Supreme Court 33 years of experience. Within the judiciary, she has served for 18 years, where she was the head of the criminal division of the court of appeal immediately before her appointment to the CJ position.

Koome is an acclaimed advocate for human rights, with a special focus on women’s and children’s rights. This endeavor has seen her earn several awards and recognition, the latest being a runner-up position in the UN Kenya person of the year 2020 awards where she was celebrated for her championing of the rights of children who are in conflict with the law. Furthermore, the CJ is a seasoned expert in family law matters, an area in which she has been at the forefront in advocating for matrimonial property rights,especially for women.

However, the CJ has also faced her fair share of criticism, the notable one being for the controversial night hearing over which she presided in the wake of the disputed repeat general elections in 2017. Her appointment has received considerable embrace by different stakeholders both locally and internationally, who have termed the move as progressive.

Apparently, the CJ’S immediate challenge in office will be how to solve the now two-year stalemate between the executive and judiciary over the former’s apparent refusal to swear-in 41 judges of the High Court and the Court of Appeal.

Having been sworn in, the CJ is expected to officially assume office on Monday in a ceremony for handing over the instruments of power.