JSC settles on Martha Koome to replace Maraga as new Chief Justice

JSC headed by Prof. Olive Mugenda announced on Tuesday evening that the commission had forwarded her name to President Uhuru Kenyatta for appointment.

The move came only hours after the Court of Appeal lifted the order stopping JSC from deliberating and announcing the Chief Justice nominee to replace David Maraga, who retired early this year.

“The Commission wishes to thank Hon Martha Koome for becoming the first lady Chief Justice of the Republic of Kenya,” said Prof Mugenda during the JSC presser.

If appointed by President Kenyatta, Lady Justice Koome will become the first female Chief Justice of the Republic of Kenya.

“Our duty was to select the best candidate and that’s what we have done,” she added when journalists asked why the commission did not release each candidate’s scores in the interviews.

This comes hours after law professor Prof Makau Mutua and Katiba Institute rushed to the High Court seeking orders to compel JSC to publish scores by each candidate interviewed for the CJ post.

In a press briefing on Tuesday evening, JSC Vice Chairperson Prof. Olive Mugenda said the commission had unanimously selected Martha Koome and forwarded her name to President Uhuru Kenyatta for appointment to succeed retired Chief Justice David Maraga.

“After lengthy deliberations and careful consideration of the performance of various candidates the JSC has unanimously recommended the appointment of Hon Koome Martha Karabu as the Chief Justice of the Republic of Kenya and has submitted her name to the President for appointment,” read the statement.

She is set to be the first female Chief Justice in the country.

Martha Koome, who has an estimated 33 years in the legal profession, was among 10 candidates who were interviewed for the position of Chief Justice.

This was the second time Lady Justice Martha Koome was making a stab at the position of Chief Justice.

She is currently based in Nairobi but has served in Nyeri and Malindi. Koome joined the Judiciary in 2003, prior to which she was a human rights defender.

The National Assembly will then consider the committee’s vetting report and once they approve it, President Kenyatta will officially appoint her Chief Justice.

The other candidates who interviewed for the position included Justice Said Juma Chitembwe, Prof. Patricia Mbote, Philip Murgor, Lawyer Fredrick Ngatia, Justice Marete Njagi, Justice Matthews Nduma Nderi, Justice William Ouko, Prof. Moni Wekesa and Ms. Alice Yano.

Meanwhile, the JSC rescheduled the interviews for the judge of Supreme Court to start on May 3, 2021.

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