In her assumption of office speech Chief Justice Martha Koome revealed that she had never intended to be a judge.
Koome who is Kenya’s first female Chief Justice revealed that it was only through the referral of a former judge that she made it to the bench.
“We were developing blueprints for the reforms in the judiciary when Justice Riaga Omollo thought my passion and cry for access to justice would find a place if I work as a judge,” the CJ said.
A former Court of Appeal Judge, Riaga Omollo joined the Judiciary in 1975 as a district magistrate before his appointment as High Court judge in 1985.
In 1993, judge Omollo was elevated to the Court of Appeal where he grew to become the senior-most judge and a board member of the Judiciary Training Institute prior to the establishment of the Supreme Court.
“I never dreamt of being a judge. I had no intention of being a judge. Judge Omollo recommended me to the Judicial Service Commission which nominated me for appointment as a judge. Thank you judge Omollo,” CJ Koome said.
A firebrand reformist who represented political detainees during President Moi’s regime, Koome made the revelation on Monday, May 24 at the Supreme Court in Nairobi where she officially took the mantle of Chief Justice from Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu who was acting as CJ.
“Beyond being a career, the last 30 years have been a service to the law. I call it a journey, a privilege, a calling and a life of commitment. I started off as an optimistic law student juggling the roles of a young mother, wife and a student,” the judge said.
The 61-year-old judge stated that she drew her inspiration from fellow women among them Justice Nyiva Mwendwa- the first female Cabinet Minister and Justice Effie Owuor the first female Magistrate, Judge of the High Court and Court of Appeal who beat all odds to emerge the best in their respective fields.
“Since my nomination was announced, it was described by many as a momentous occasion since it assures every boy and girl that no matter their circumstances, it is possible to keep dreaming and that Kenya gives everyone all opportunities,” Koome said.
The instruments of power CJ Koome took from her Deputy include the Constitution, Judiciary flag, Chief Justice’s report on the State of The Judiciary a at January 11,2021 and the State of the Judiciary as of May 21,2021
DCJ Mwilu served as CJ from January 11, 2021 and held the post for 134 days. While transferring power to her new boss, Mwili described the role she played as “the highest honor of my professional life”.