Lady Justice Martha Koome Karambu has been tipped to be the next Chief Justice of Kenya, highly placed sources based at State House have revealed.
Koome, who has more than thirty years of experience in legal practice, and was born Kithiu Village in Miragamieru in Meru County, edged out Senior Consel Fred Ngatia who was a favourite candidate of the system.
Kenya News Day reliably learnt that Justice Koome, who is an Appeals Court Judge and an acclaimed expert in family law, emerged as favourite to replace retired Chief Justice David Maraga after winning endorsement of powerful stake holders with close links to President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Koome won favour because unlike Maraga and his deputy Mwilu, she can be easily manipulated to dance to the tune of the executive and will be used as a political bait to the populus Meru vote ahead of the 2022 general elections.
For these reasons, Koome easily upstaged the tainted Ngatia who many thought was a hands down favourite following his sterling performance during his interview with the Judicial Service Commission earlier this week.
Koome’s other advantage stemmed from strong resistance to Ngatia’s candidature from key people at State House. Strategic state institutions also expressed reservations about his ability to head a key institution as the judiciary. Most were however concerned that his integrity challenges were presenting a stumbling block especially provisions of Chapter Six of the 2010 constitution.
Of more concern however was Ngatia’s close ties to Mt Kenya region powerbrokers among them Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho, former Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri and former National Alliance patron Jimmi Wanjigi.
On Tuesday, while appearing before the JSC for his interview, Ngatia put on a convincing charm offensive that was backed up by a strong social media campaign leaving no doubt that his candidature was sponsored by powerful unseen forces.
Lawyers led by Law Society of Kenya President Nelson Havi praised Ngatia. Havi has variously been seen supporting causes sympathetic to Deputy President William Ruto, and his tenure as LSK President has been mired in controversy.
Before Havi weighed in flamboyant and controversial Nairobi lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi had also named Ngatia as among three horses likely to be Chief Justice. Abdullahi represented Deputy President William Ruto in the land despute case where the controversial Weston Hotel stands.
Abdullahi’s close associate, advocate Dennis Mosota who is a former LSK council member also praised Ngatia’s interview performance.
Kenyan News Day independently established that the little known but deeply networked Mosota has links to senior corrupt figures in President Paul Kagame’s Rwanda Patrioric Front and Generals in the Rwandese military. He is also rumoured to have links to Eastern European mercenaries based in South Africa .He has made a good fortune from dealing with these dubious characters.
Another Nairobi lawyer who praised Ngatia was Omwanza Ombati who had spent weeks profiling Ngatia and leaving no doubt about his suitability foe the Chief Justice position. Omwanza has appeared for Ahmednasir Abdullahi in a defamation case against Kenyan bloggers.
Others who spoke highly of Ngatia included former Kakamega Senator Bonny Khalwale who is a close ally of DO William Ruto and one of the biggest critics of President Uhuru Kenyatta
Most of those praising Ngatia were seen as having close ties to DP Ruto through Ahmednasir Abdullahi and pundits opine this could have made State House insiders apprehensive of Ngatia’s candidature.
Ngatia’s ultimate downfall however appears to be explosive petitions filed by the Kenya Revenue Authority, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, Financial Reporting Centre as well as the National Intelligence Service which all gave the JSC highly incriminating evidence against Ngatia.