Kenya: More Women Seek to Replace Maraga


More women have sought to succeed retired Chief Justice David Maraga than they did in 2016, following the exit of Dr Willy Mutunga.

Of the 13 applicants whose list was released on Wednesday, three are women, namely Ms Alice Jepkoech Yano, a former member of Prof. Yash Pal Ghai-led Constitution of Kenya Review Commission.

It is out of the commission that existed between 2000 and 2005, that the Yash Pal Ghai draft Constitution, the first of its kind after independence, came to be.

It is to this Commission that women rights groups including Caucus for Women’s Leadership, League of Kenya Women Voters and National Commission on the Status of Women, submitted the first formal propositions of 30-50 per cent women’s representation in all decision-making positions and employment.

Justice Martha Koome, who currently sits at the Court of Appeal is also in the race. She is in competition to become the President of the Supreme Court with her boss-Justice William Ouko, who is the current President of the Court of Appeal.

Gender issues

Justice Koome is the 2020 UN in Kenya Person of the Year, a recognition that appreciates her work in advocacy for the rights of children in conflict with the law as well as child victims.

She chaired National Council on the Administration of Justice Special Task Force on Children Matters that analysed gaps and developed policies for creation of children friendly justice system including those with special needs.

Prof Patricia Mbote is the third woman seeking the top seat in the highest court in Kenya. She is a professor of law at the School of Law, University of Nairobi and Founding Research Director of International Environmental Law Research Centre. Prof Mbote is a notable scholar in gender issues in land tenure in Kenya.

Unlike Prof Mbote whose eyes are only on the Chief Justice post, Ms Yano and Justice Koome have equally applied to replace retired Jackton Ojwang’. They are among the nine applicants for the position of the judge at the Supreme Court.

In 2016, Justice Roselyne Nambuye, Court of Appeal judge and lawyer Ms Lucy Wanja contested for the top seat in the Judiciary. They were the only two women among the 14 applicants.

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