Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Margaret Kobia on 29th April, 2021 led a section of women leaders to issue a statement of support on the nomination of Hon. Lady Justice Martha Koome for the position of Chief Justice of the Republic of Kenya.
The event held in Nairobi, brought together women leaders to rally their support for the nominee and take stock of the milestones that have been made in the Gender Equality and Women Empowerment agenda in Kenya.
Issuing a congratulatory statement on behalf of women leaders who had come together in Nairobi to celebrate Justice Koome’s nomination by the Judiciary Service Commission, Prof. Kobia said her nomination was due to a strong vote of confidence in the skills, knowledge and competencies she holds.
“With 33 years of experience Justice Koome has been an asset to the Judiciary, and as a former Chairperson of Federation of Women Lawyers in Kenya (FIDA), she has distinguished herself as women’s and human rights defender locally and internationally,” commended Prof. Kobia.
She further stated that Justice Koome, who will be the Kenya’s first female Chief Justice has dealt with obstacles entrenched in social and cultural norms that deny leadership opportunities to women, crediting the nomination as a solid recognition of women’s excellence and potential for leadership in their various fields.
“We have come together to rally our support for the nominee and take stock of the milestone that have been made towards achieving gender equality and women empowerment agenda in Kenya,” said the CS, and added “Justice Koome has shattered the glass ceiling and will be one of the most admired Chief Justices in the world.”
Prof. Kobia said Justice Koome’s victory will inspire young girls in the country to pursue their dreams and thanked President Uhuru Kenyatta for fulfilling his constitutional obligation by forwarding JSC nomination of Justice Koome to the National Assembly for vetting.
In her remarks, the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Water Hon. Sicily Kariuki noted with concern that women leaders face a lot of challenges in their course of work and therefore urged citizens to look up to them as leaders and not just as the other gender.
“As women we are motivated by Justice Koome to keep going even when we face discrimination challenges. She has unknowingly elevated women and challenged us to celebrate women in every sphere,” urged Kariuki.
Speaking at the event, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning Hon. Farida Karoney called upon women leaders to support Justice Koome in her new task.
“We are not in these positions because we are women. We are in these positions because we are competent Kenyans, equal to the task and we just happen to be women,” insisted Karoney.
UN Women, Country Representative Ms. Anna Mutavati said that the nomination of Justice Koome is exciting for gender equality champions in the country, and globally, because it comes at a time the world recently came together in March 2021 to launch the Generation Equality Forum Agenda.
“Kenya joins a small number of countries in Africa with women at the helm of the judiciary. As UN women, we join the rest of the world in congratulating Kenya on taking this historic step as it signifies that the country is in the right direction and is committed to achieving gender equality,” commented Ms. Mutavati.
She said that the entry of women judges into spaces from which they had historically been excluded is a positive step in the direction of judiciaries being perceived as being more transparent, inclusive, and representatives of the people whose lives they affect.
Kirinyaga Governor, Ann Waiguru in a statement read by Nairobi County Deputy Governor, Hon. Ann Kananu commended Judicial Service Commission for selecting a nominee who is not only a woman, but also one who has contributed to the advancement of justice in the country.
Waiguru thanked the President for forwarding Justice Koome’s name to Parliament for vetting, which she said is a great demonstration of confidence in women leadership.
“I urge parliamentarians to consider Justice Koome as Kenya is ready for female leadership,” she said.
Nairobi Deputy Governor, Ann Kananu lauded Justice Koome for changing the narrative, noting that 25 years ago no one could have imagined that a woman could take a mantle for such a position.
“As a woman, I feel I have achieved alot, courtesy of Justice Koome’s nomination. Her competency will steer the judiciary towards efficient service delivery. The forums that bring us in leadership shall be permanent,” cited Kananu.
Among the women leaders present at the event were Cabinet Secretaries, Ministry of Sports Tourism and Heritage, Amb. Dr. Amina Mohamed, Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development, Hon. Betty Maina, Chief Administrative Secretaries Hon. Beatrice Elachi, Hon. Rachel Shebesh, Hon. Dr Jebii Kilimo, Hon. Winnie Guchu, Principal Secretary, Mrs. Mary Kimonye, Maendeleo ya Wanawake Chairperson, Mrs. Rahab Mwikali, Chairperson, Gender and Youth Sector Board, KEPSA Eva Muraya, State House, Deputy Chief of Staff Mrs. Ruth Kagia among other dignitaries.
By Catherin Kamau