NAIROBI, Kenya, May 2 – Martha Koome became the first judge on Wednesday to publicly face the Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board in the ongoing radical surgery of the Judiciary.
Koome who started off at 10am spent the whole day defending herself against six complaints brought forward by different people.
“For the nine years I have served as a judge, I have never harassed a litigant. There has never been an investigation on such allegations. I am the last person to harass anybody; I give all my time,” she asserted.
She further argued that she was competent and gave examples of hard cases she had handled and given befitting rulings.
Royal Media Services chairman SK Macharia appeared before the board to complain over Koome’s handling of a land dispute involving his wife.
Macharia was however taken to task by Koome’s counsel George Oraro based on documents filed in the case which was handled by Koome.
Koome who started serving in the High Court in 2003 proposed for adoption of case management strategies to set up timelines by when cases should be completed to cut down on unnecessary delays.
One of the complaints against Koome was however set to be heard on a different day after the board agreed that it was necessary for the parties to physically appear before it.
Since the case involved minors, the board found it inappropriate to have it heard in public which Koome and her counsel concurred with.
Her vetting will continue on May, 17 when her competence and integrity will be tested in accordance with the provisions of Article 73 of the Constitution and section 18 of the Vetting of Judges and Magistrates Act, 2011.
Next to face the board is Judge David Maraga who was expected on Wednesday but could not after Koome spent the entire day with the board.
Justice Hannah Okwengu will appear before the board on Thursday.
Next week, justices Paul Kihara and Roselyn Nambuye will be up for evaluation.
Nambuye was sent home in another purge in 2003, but she successfully challenged the decision and got her job back.