Who is Martha Koome?Kenya’s first female Chief Justice

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By Selija Achaya

Martha Karambu Koome is probably the most talked about chief justice in Kenya. Not only is she the first woman to hold the position but to also upholds the winning of president Ruto which was filled with controversy. Especially when she termed the Azimios Alliance evidence as Hot air.

But who is Martha Koome?

Early life

She was born on 3rd June 1960 in Kithiu Village, Meru District. She is 61 years old.

Personal life

Martha Koome is a family-oriented woman. She is married to Koome Kiragu and has three children. She has one son Kelvin Koome and two daughters Kagwira Koome and Nkirote Koome.


A photo of Koome and her husband

Martha was admitted to the university of Nairobi after completing of highschool studies. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree In law.

After her law degree, Martha enrolled at the Kenya school of law where she attained a postgraduate diploma in 1987.

in 2010 Martha finished her LL.M in public International law from the University of London.


The CJ officially began her legal career as an associate at Mathengi and Muchemi Advocates. After working for a while she started a law firm working as a managing partner until 2003.

Law Society of Kenya

In 1993 she was elected as a council member of the law society of Kenya a position she held until 1996.

When she was at LSK Martha took a leading role in constitutional and legal reforms. She was also part of the Constitutional review process.

She also was a delegate at the Bomas of Kenya where she partially chaired the thematic era on the Bill of Rights.

Koome also served as the inaugural treasurer of the East Africa Law Society from 1994 to 1996.

FIDA Chairperson

Marth has served as the chairperson for FIDA a human rights organization in Kenya.

Here she served as a defender of Human and Gender rights.

She is also one of the lawyers who fought for the repeal of section 2A of the constitution and the independence of the Judiciary. She is also well known for her expertise in Family Law and also takes a keen interest in the welfare of children.

Court of appeal

koome was appointed as the judge of the court of appeal in January 2012. She had served as a Puisne judge for over 8 years.

While she worked as the court of appeal judge she was elected as the chairperson of the Kenya Magistrates and Judges Association.

In 2016 she was shortlisted by the judicial service commission for the deputy chief justice position a position that was occupied by Justice Philomena Mwilu.

Complaints against her by the LSK.

Favouritism and improper motive.. here she was accused of ruling in favour of the executive arm of the government.

She has also been accused of ruling in favour of ethnicity.

These are accusations she denied and instructed her lawyers to issue a demand to the LSK president Nelson Havi to retract the allegations against her within 7 days.

Her journey to the appointment of the first female chief justice

Recruitment as 15th Chief Justice

After sitting at the ruling for the repeat of the election rerun of 2017 that was filled with suspicion.

At the conclusion of the interviews, the JSC announced her nomination for the position. Setting her up to be the 1st female, 15th Chief Justice and the third Chief Justice after the 2010 constitution.

Her name was subsequently transmitted to the President. Who sent it to Parliament for vetting and approval before her formal appointment.

The Justice and Legal Affairs Committee

The Justice & Legal Affairs Committee of the National Assembly conducted her vetting hearing on May 13. And recommended that the full house should approve her nomination.

The report of the Committee was tabled before the full house on May 19 for discussion. The full house voted to approve her nomination on May 19, 2021.

Paving the way for her appointment as the Chief Justice. Within hours of Parliament’s approval vote, President Uhuru Kenyatta appointed her on May 19, 2021;

Assumption of the Office of the CJ

As the Chief Justice of the Republic of Kenya. She took her Oath of Office at State House, Nairobi, on May 21, 2021.

She assumed office on Monday, May 24, 2021. In an Assumption of Office ceremony at the Supreme Court Building during which;

Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu handed over the instruments of power to the new Chief Justice. Koome is married to Koome Kiragu and has three children.

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