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Lady Justice Martha Koome Karambu when she was interviewed for the position of Chief Justice on April 14, 2021. JSC announced on April 27, 2021 that she Koome had been nominated to succeed David Maraga making her the first woman to hold that post in Kenya.

Kenya

Koome appears before the JSC in second attempt for CJ slot

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.

NAIROBI, KENYA, April 14 – Court of Appeal Judge Martha Koome appeared before the Judicial Service Commission on Wednesday for a second attempt on the Chief Justice’s job.

The panel commenced interviews on Monday to list the country’s next Chief Justice, the third under the 2010 Constitution.

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.

The Commission had shortlisted ten candidates and have so far interviewed
Justice Juma Chitembwe and Prof Patricia Mbote in an exercise being held at the Supreme Court Buildings and which will come to a close on April 23.

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.

“Once its operationalized, we can attract funding, Judiciary has always been supported by donors, we can get the government funding and other support from partners, If Judiciary revenue from the Judiciary is also injected in the fund, we will never lack funds,” she said.

“We have to put in an audit so that we can get value for money, Once you are able to account and show deliverables, you will always attract money and have a system that monitors value for money,” Lady Justice Koome explained.

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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.

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.

“We have to negotiate for them to take their positions, it’s necessary they get appointed, without judges, no major progress will be made in Judiciary,” she added.

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