Women leaders have thrown their support behind the nomination of Court of Appeal Judge Martha Koome for the position of Chief Justice (CJ).
Drawn from public, private and civil society, the women held a meeting at a Nairobi hotel on Thursday not to just celebrate her achievement but to also pledge their unconditional support going forward.
She is awaiting vetting of National Assembly, consequent to her approval.
Ministry of Sports, Heritage and Culture, CS Amina Mohamed told off detractors attempting to spoil the landmark achievement since Kenya gained its independence 57 years ago.
“We don’t want to be told about rigging. Allow us to celebrate,” she said.
Senior Counsel, Mr Fred Ngatia, one of the 10 candidates interviewed by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has claimed being rigged out in favour of Justice Koome.
African Women Leaders Network (AWLN)-Kenya Chapter Chairperson Dr Jennifer Riria whom Justice Koome gracefully identified as her mentor, expressed her exalted delight in her achievement.
“We have broken the glass ceiling. It is a great moment,” she said adding that she has walked with her for more than 36 years and she did encourage her to go for the top seat in the Judiciary just as she did in 2016, when she competed to join the Supreme Court as deputy CJ.
Law scholar Prof Patricia Mbote who equally competed for the CJ post, said she was happy Justice Koome has carried the gender equality mantle that they were both interested to install in the Judiciary leadership.
She said they were in constant communication with Justice Koome prior to their interviews, encouraging each other that a win for either, was a win for both and the rest of the women.
‘I am very proud of my sister Justice Koome. A win for one of us is a win for women,” she said
Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Development, Chief Administrative Secretary Ms Winnie Guchu, said Justice Koome would need utmost support of women as her role is tough and sometimes lonesome.
“It is really tough to be at the top. There will be very difficult moments and difficult decisions to make and she needs the support of women,” she said.
She, however, promised Justice Koome that she could never walk alone in her service to the public.
“Know that there are very able women to tap into their knowledge,” she said in her encouragement remarks to the CJ-designate.
She added: “We want to tell her that we are watching her back and she can count on our support.”
Ministry of Gender and Public Service, CS Prof Margaret Kobia said her nomination is a “solid recognition and celebration of women’s excellence.”
“To all young girls in Kenya, may this victory inspire you to pursue your dreams,” she said.
Meanwhile, UN Women-Kenya Country Director Ms Anna Mutavati, said the nomination of a female for the CJ’s post is proof that Kenya is committed to achieving gender equality.
She said good governance is anchored on inclusive and representative leadership.
“Women enhance legitimacy of the courts and improve quality of decisions and justice itself,” she said.