NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 17 – President Uhuru Kenyatta and Chief Justice David Maraga on Monday joined leaders from all walks of life who sent messages of condolence to the family of the Court of Appeal Judge James Otieno Odek after he passed away in his apartment in Kisumu.
In his message of condolence, the Head of State described the late Odek as a prolific intellectual and a gifted legal mind.
“The death of Justice Odek is not only a big blow to his close family and the judiciary but also to the whole country which he served with commitment and dedication in the dispensation of justice without fear or favour,” President Kenyatta said as he condoled the family of the departed judge.
Judge Odek served as the Director of the Judiciary Training Institute from 2016 to 2018, having become a Judge of the Court of Appeal in 2012.
Chief Justice David Maraga confirmed the passing on of the 56-year-old judge while describing him as a prolific scholar who was widely published and celebrated across the continent and beyond.
“He was not only a distinguished Judge but also a prolific legal scholar who was widely published and celebrated across the continent and beyond,” Maraga said in his condolence message.
“On behalf of the Judiciary, the Judicial Service Commission and on my own behalf, I wish to express our heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and the entire legal fraternity for this shocking loss,” said Maraga who is the also the President of the Supreme Court and chairperson Judicial Service Commission.
African Union High Representative for Infrastructure Development Raila Odinga said the Odek’s untimely death had robbed the Judiciary of a critical member at a very a critical time for the country and justice system.
The former Prime Minister wished peace and strength to the family and his professional colleagues.
Senate Minority Leader James Orengo mourned the departed judge saying he was a great legal icon and an astute adjudicator who loved Kenya and had a passion for his job.
“Am still in deep shock and flustered by the debilitating news of the demise of Court of Appeal Judge Justice Prof.
“His towering status as an impeccable judge rather humbled him. I sincerely commiserate with the family and friends on this great loss and pray the Almighty God to grant him eternal rest in the bosom of the Lord. May God graciously fortify the family to bear this irreparable loss,” said Orengo.
Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula and Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo also mourned the judge.
“I have learnt of the sudden death of Appellate Judge Prof Otieno Odek. A fine legal scholar with admirable clarity of mind the judiciary and the legal fraternity has lost immensely. May his soul, rest in eternal peace. Amen,” Wetangula said in his message posted on Twitter.
“I learnt with much consternation and trepidation the passing-on of my colleague, friend and constituent Honourable Justice Prof Otieno Odek! May his soul Rest In Peace,” Otiende added.
City lawyers Steve Ogolla and Nelson Havi said the justice and legal profession had lost a fine legal scholar with admirable clarity of mind.
“Justice Otieno Odek of the Court of Appeal has passed on, so sad. May God grant him eternal rest and strength to the family during this difficult moment,” Ogolla said
“Death has robbed the legal fraternity of a great mind. Justice Professor Otieno Odek taught many of us at the University of Nairobi. He was a distinguished litigation Advocate, fair, just and intelligent Court of Appeal Judge. May God grant his family strength as they mourn,” Havi stated in the condolence tweet.
Nyanza Regional Police Commander Vincent Makokha confirmed Justice Odek was found dead in his house on Monday morning.
The judge lived in an apartment next to Kisumu Central Police Station.