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Justice Martha Koome took oath as Kenya's new Chief Justice on May 21, 2021.

World

I’m ready to serve, CJ nominee Martha Koome says

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 28-Chief Justice nominee Martha Koome said Wednesday she was ready to serve Kenyans, even as she prepares for vetting by Parliament.

A day after the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) nominated her a list of ten candidates interviewed for the position, Koome said she is ready to serve.

“As I continue to prepare for the next stage, I wish to convey my profound gratitude to all well-wishers who encouraged and prayed for me. I continue to thank God and seek your prayers as I go through the confirmation process,” she said, “I wish to assure Kenyans of my unwavering commitment to serve to the best of my abilities.”

Justice Koome will be the first woman in the country to occupy the office of the Chief Justice. She will replace David Maraga who retired in January when he attained the mandatory age of 70.

JSC sent her name to President Uhuru Kenyatta who has since forwarded it to Parliament for vetting before he makes a formal appointment.

Koome, who was feted by the United Nations for her advocacy for the rights of children in conflict with the law as well as victims, unsuccessfully sought the CJ office in 2016.

In her opening remarks before the 9-member panel, Koome prescribed possible solutions to end the funding challenges facing the Judiciary.

In her submissions, she fronted for the operationalization of the Judiciary Fund which she said will attract funding from donors, government, and partners in order to bolster the performance of activities in the Judiciary.

Koome, who has 33-year career experience including 15 years practicing law, said she understood various administrative challenges facing the judiciary including the human capital deficit, judges shortage, infrastructure, and poor coordination.

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She also said the Judiciary lacks effective communication with members of the public even as she proposed a good communication system with provision of SMS options from Kenyans to track their cases.

The judge noted that appointment of judges was the main solution to judicial challenges.

She proposed negotiations with the Executive over the stalled appointment of 41 judges of High Court and Appellate Court stations.

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