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Marriage Not Passport To Property Rights, Lady Justice Martha Koome Tells CJ Interview Panel

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Hon. Lady Justice Koome Martha Karambu appearing before the JSC for her interview for the position of Chief Justice. Photo Courtesy

Marriage Not Passport To Property Rights, Lady Justice Martha Koome Tells CJ Interview Panel

The search for the Country’s Chief Justice enters day three Wednesday with Lady Justice Martha Koome who is currently serving in the Court of Appeal in Nairobi facing the panel chaired by Prof. Olive Mugenda.

Hon. Lady Justice Koome Martha Karambu appearing before the JSC for her interview for the position of Chief Justice. Photo Courtesy

Court of Appeal judge Martha Koome says marriage does not necessarily guarantee one ownership rights to property worked for by a spouse. She says many spouses have taken advantage of marriage to demand ownership and equality of rights to property.

“If I got married today and I have some property, my spouse is not entitled to it. And if I got married and my husband has some property, I am not entitled to it because that is his property,” she said.

Koome said in the instance where the spouses have lived together for some time and together acquired property, then in this case they can demand equality.

“When you stay together and develop this property then either party in the marriage acquires occupational rights,” she said.

Koome was responding to questions by Justice Mohamed Warsame who sought to know her to stand on the equality rights to property.

Koome dismissed claims that female judges face more challenges compared to their male counterparts at the Judiciary.

She said challenges within the judiciary are gender-neutral.

She said, as a result, the post of the Chief Justice should not be reduced to a male vs female affair.

“As women, we face the same challenges our male counterparts face. Leadership does not require a man or a woman, it should be based on skills,” she said.

Koome said it would be historical for her to be appointed a woman CJ in Kenyan history.

“Being a CJ is like a driver. Whoever sits on the driver’s seat, as long as they have the license, the car will move. To me leadership and interpersonal skill are what I need for the CJ job,” she said.

Court of Appeal Judge Martha Koome being escorted by the registrar of Judiciary Ann Amadi to the interview for the position of the Chief Justice at the Supreme court buildings on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. Photo Courtesy

Hon. Lady Justice Koome was born in 1960 in Meru County.

She holds the following academic and professional qualifications:
Master of Laws from the University of London (2010); Bachelor of Laws from the University of Nairobi (1986); Post Graduate Diploma in Law from the Kenya School of Law (1987) and admitted to the Roll of Advocates in 1987

The Hon. Judge has an aggregate of 33 years of experience in the legal profession.
Appointed as Judge of Court of Appeal in 2012; Currently serving in the Court of Appeal in Nairobi, and previously in Nyeri and Malindi

Served as a High Court Judge (2003 – 2011) as indicated below:
a) Head of Land and Environment Division of the High Court in Nairobi
b) Resident Judge, High Court in Nakuru & Kitale
c) High Court in Nairobi (Commercial Division & Family Division)
Managing Partner at Martha Koome & Company Advocates (1993 -2003)
Legal Associate at Mathenge & Muchemi Advocates (1988 – 1992)

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