‘Fund the Judiciary and respect court orders,’ CJ Koome says
Chief Justice Martha Koome has vowed to protect the independence of the Judiciary even as she urged the other arms of government to play their part in facilitating the dispensation of justice.
Koome who together with Justice William Ouko took their oath of office as Chief Justice and Supreme Court Judge respectively vowed to propel the Judiciary to greater heights.
And amid concern that the Judiciary was no longer independent, the president surprised the judges and guests when he re-read the oath, asking Koome and Ouko to internalize its meaning.
A historic day for Kenya as Martha Koome is sworn in as the first female Chief Justice in the republic, making her the 15th Chief Justice since Independence.
The ceremony held at Statehouse Nairobi also saw former Court of Appeal President William Ouko take his oath as Supreme Court Judge to replace Justice Jackton Ojwang who resigned in 2019.
President Kenyatta who witnessed the swearing took time to repeat the oath to the judges as he advised them to internalize the details
“Promote fairness, independence, competence and integrity within it. Mine is to wish you God’s blessing as you embark on your duties, we know you will succeed we will work and partner with you,” President Kenyatta said.
The president further urged the judges to utilize the vast experience in the corridors of justice to facilitate delivery of justice
“I cannot teach you what to do if you give justice we will not have a problem,” the president added.
After the swearing in ceremony, the new Chief Justice was introduced to Judiciary staff and judges whom she would work closely with.
Both Koome and Ouko acknowledged the difficult task ahead:
“Interviews are done, celebrations are done, now the hard work begin,” Ouko said.
The new Chief Justice urged the Executive to play its role in funding the Judiciary and ensure the implementation and respect for court orders.
A full intray awaits the new Chief Justice, among them, restoring public confidence in the third arm of government amid fears that it had been infiltrated and its independence threatened.
“Independence of the judiciary cannot be interfered with, anyone directing the judiciary will be against the law,” Chief Justice Koome said.
There were moments of nostalgia for Koome and Ouko who were once classmates in the 80s and who over the years have risen through the ranks to the positions whose oath they took on Friday afternoon.
“We did not imagine we would be here, as chief justice and supreme court judge,” ouko said.
“He was my boss, the CoA president, we applied for the same job, and we used to encourage each other that we are in a friendly match this is a lesson politicians need to learn from us,” CJ Koome said.
Koome also urged women to rise to the occasion, saying they had broken the glass ceiling, and they should seize the moment.
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