JSC settles on Martha Koome for Chief Justice

Martha Koome

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has unanimously nominated Justice Martha Koome Karambu for the position of Chief Justice.

JSC has forwarded her name to President Uhuru Kenyatta for appointment.

Martha Koome was among 10 candidates interviewed by the JSC over the last two weeks.

The other candidates were Justice Said Juma Chitembwe, Prof Patricia Mbote, Justice Marete Njagi, Philip Murgor, Justice Nduma Nderi, Fred Ngatia, Justice William Ouko, Dr Wekesa Moni and Alice Yano.

Koome has 33 years of experience in legal practice under her belt and a significant portion of those years has been in public service as a defender of human rights.

“Our duty was to select the best candidate and that’s what we have done,” Prof Olive Mugenda, who chaired the interviews, said on why the JSC will not release the scores for each candidate.

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Prof Mugenda also announced that interviews for a Supreme Court judge to succeed Jackton Ojwang, who retired, will resume on May 3. She said all the candidates will be notified of the dates when they will face the panel.

When she appeared before the interviewing panel, Justice Koome said her wealth of experience – locally, regionally and internationally – would come in handy in solving the teething problems facing the courts.

She said that her priorities, should she get the job, would be to reduce the backlog of cases by facilitating the appointment of additional judges and magistrates, help operationalise the Judiciary Fund to promote its independence, promote the use of technology as well as to build additional courts.

The Judiciary is now firmly run by females – acting CJ (Philomena Mwilu); Vice Chair JSC (Olive Mugenda); acting President Court of Appeal (Wanjiru Karanja); Principal Judge, High Court ( Lydia Achode ); Principal Judge, ELRC, (Maureen Onyango); Judiciary Chief Registrar (Anne Amadi); Registrar, High Court (Judy Omange); Registrar Supreme Court (Esther Nyaiyaki); Registrar JSC (Frida Mokaya).

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