As a Kenyan, a woman, and a mother of an adult daughter pursuing legal training in college, I am very proud that Kenya would have the first female Chief Justice.
This would inspire many girls to also crush the glass ceiling in a profession that has always been dominated by men.
I don’t know much about Justice Martha Koome. However, I have spent some considerable time going through her profile online.
And wow! Doesn’t the girl have an impressive resume?
The simple and unassuming 61-year-old village girl who was raised in a polygamous family of 18 siblings in rural Meru, paints a from grass to grace story.
She has been the chairperson of FIDA Kenya, the legal aid and advocacy organization that for over three decades has been at the forefront in fighting for women and children’s rights, especially in the backdrop of gender-based violence.
She was also a council member of the Law Society of Kenya during the heady days of President Moi’s regime.
Her rise to be the head of the Judiciary has not come at a better time when the country is being subjected to BBI constitutional changes.
As Chief Justice, she brings onboard institutional memory in constitution-making processes.
A veteran human rights defender, she was herself a delegate in Bomas during the drafting of the 2010 constitution where she chaired the thematic area on the Bill of Rights.
Her work on the bench, as a judge of the High Court and later the Court of Appeal, and especially with her soft for children’s rights and welfare presents a motherly figure. Exactly what our country needs, in this moment and time.
She was instrumental in setting up the Family Division of the High Court that deals exclusively with family matters, divorce and inheritance.
The UN in Kenya, in October 2020, recognized her championing of children’s rights with a run-up award as Person of the Year 2020.
The protective motherly figure is evident in how she has kept her family – husband and three adult children away from her largely public life.
Congratulations Martha Karambu Koome. Go forth and make Kenya proud