Justice Martha Koome has been sworn in as the new Chief Justice. She becomes the first woman to hold that position in Kenya’s history.
She took the oath of office at State House Nairobi in a brief ceremony attended by top government officials led by Attorney-General Kihara Kariuki.
President Uhuru Kenyatta said he felt honoured to be the country's first Head of State to oversee swearing in of the first female Chief Justice.
He also repeated the wordings contained in the oath of office for the Chief Justice and Judges.
While restating the oath, the President told the new CJ that the Executive arm of government will support her and encouraged her to work without fear, political or religious influence.
He told the judges to work as per their oath and pledge which is to protect, administer, and defend the Constitution.
The swearing-in ceremony was conducted by the Judiciary Chief Registrar Anne Amadi. It also marked the first time the Judiciary is being headed by two women -Chief Justice Koome and Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu.
The event, which was scheduled for 11am, was pushed to 1pm because President Kenyatta had not arrived from Mombasa.
Justice Koome's nomination was approved by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) members after interviewing ten other candidates for the position. The President later appointed her before her appointment was approved by the National Assembly.
Also sworn in was Justice William Ouko, as judge of the Supreme Court.
They are also expected to uphold the dignity and the respect for the Judiciary, judicial system of Kenya, and promote fairness, independence, and integrity within it.
After the State House ceremony, the new Chief Justice proceeded to the Supreme Court building in Nairobi to take over the office.
She was received by the acting JSC acting vice chairperson Prof Olive Mugenda and Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu.
The CJ called on Kenyans to embrace alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.
She also told the Executive that it has a duty to ensure the Jidiciary has a budgetary allocation. She urged the Executive to support the implementation of court orders.
Politicians and civil groups congratulated Justice Koome.
"The swearing-in of Justice Martha Koome is a bright dawn delivering overdue justice and vindicates our collective aspiration to be a society founded on equality, inclusion and Constitutionalism. The more women at the helm of leadership the richer and fairer we are. It's beautiful," said Deputy President William Ruto.
Narc-Kenya party leader Martha Karua said: "Congrats to CJ Martha Koome upon her appointment. Much is expected of her and I wish her well and pray that God’s grace be upon her to serve with dedication & to remain steadfast to her oath of office".
The Federation of Women Lawyers stated 'we celebrate your bravery and courage.....only the brave dare! Congratulations'.
Former President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, had also earlier congratulated Justice Koome.
"My warmest congratulations to Lady Justice Martha Koome as she becomes the first woman to serve as Chief Justice of Kenya. Women's equal representation in legal systems is integral to achieving fair, just, and inclusive societies," said the retired President.