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Raila petition: Meet the seven Supreme Court Judges

Security has been beefed up at the Supreme Court in Nairobi ahead of the possible hearing of a petition in which Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga will challenge the election win of President-elect William Ruto.

The results announced by Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati show Ruto garnered 7,176,141 votes, against Odinga’s 6,942,930 votes.

Odinga has until August 22, 2022, to file the petition.

Here is the profile of the seven Judges who hear the petition.

1. Chief Justice Martha Koome – She is the President of the Supreme Court and is the one who is expected to lead the petition proceedings and announce the judgment on the D-day.

An alumnus of Nairobi University, Koome replaced David Maraga as Chief Justice in May 2021.

She joined the Kenya School of Law in 1987 and a year later she set up her own private law firm.

In 2003, she joined the Judiciary as a magistrate and served in several parts of the country while still serving as a member of the Law Society of Kenya.

Justice Koome who holds a Master’s Degree from the University of London was then promoted from the High Court and joined the Court of Appeal.

In 2011, Ms Koome was elected as the Chairperson of the Kenya Magistrates and Judges Association.

2. Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mbete Mwilu – She is a law graduate of the University of Nairobi University and was admitted to the bar in 1984.

She boasts a three-decade career in the Kenya Judiciary and has in the past worked at the Mutunga and Company Advocates where she practiced law.

In 1990, she worked at Jubilee Insurance Company Limited as a senior legal manager before she joined the Electricity Regulatory board nine years later.

In 2012 she joined the Court of Appeal where she served as a Judge until when she was appointed the Deputy Chief Justice in 2016.

In 2017, she was awarded the Moran of the Golden Heart by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

She was amongst the seven Judges who in 2018 made history as the first set to ever nullify a presidential election under the reign of Retired Justice David Maraga.

The nullification saw a repeat of the elections between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr Odinga.

3. Justice Mohammed Ibrahim – He is also a graduate of the University of Nairobi and has served in the Supreme Court of Kenya since 2011.

He obtained his Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Nairobi and iwas admitted to the Roll of Advocates in 1983.

In 1985, he joined Messrs Waruhiu and Muite Advocates, where he could later be taken in as a partner.

14 years later, he established Mohammed Ibrahim and Associates which later expanded to become Ibrahim and Isaack Advocates in 1997.

Mr Ibrahim was active in civil rights advocacy which also saw him get detained without trial in 1990 under the reign of ex-president the late Daniel Arap Moi.

He has served as a member of the Law Society of Kenya.

4.Justice Dr Smokin Wanjala – He’s been a judge of the Supreme Court of Kenya since 2011.

He holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Nairobi and a Post Graduate Diploma in Law from the Kenya School of Law.

He also studied in Columbia University, New York and University of Ghent, Belgium where he graduated with a Masters of Laws and a Doctorate in Law (PhD).

In 2004, he was the Director of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission, now known as the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, a position he held until 2009.

He also served as a Law Lecturer at the University of Nairobi for a period of 19 years.

During the penning of the Ndung’u report which focused on the illegal and irregular allocation of public land, he served as the chairman of the committee.

5. Justice Isaac Lenaola – He currently serves as a Supreme Court judge of the Constitution and Human Rights Division.

Mr Lenaola holds a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Nairobi and he graduated in 1990. In 1991 he joined the Kenya School of law and later he was admitted to the Bar.

He is currently serving as a Judge at the Residual Special Court of Sierra Leone (RSCL).

Until he was appointed to the Supreme Court he was the Judge of the Constitutional and Human Rights Division at the High Court in Milimani, Nairobi.

He holds the Moran of the Burning Spear (MBS) award and the rank of Chief of the Burning Spear as well.

6. Lady Justice Njoki Ndung’u – Justice Njoki, is a Judge of the Supreme Court and holds both a Masters in Law degree (LL.M) in Human Rights and Civil Liberties. She also holds a diploma in Women’s Rights.

It is worth noting that Justice Njoki is the one who penned the Sexual Offences Act 2006 and also came up with the amendment that now sees men and women given paid maternity and paternity leave.

In 2006 she was given an award by the United Nations namely UN person of the year in Kenya.

Other awards she’s been given include the Presidential Commendation of the rank of the Elder of the Burning Spear (EBS) in 2006 and later awarded the rank of Chief of the Burning Spear (CBS).

7. Justice William Ouko – He served as the President of the Court of Appeal between 2018 and July 2021.

He studied Law at the University of Nairobi and served as an advocate of the High Court in 1987.

His first job as an advocate was at Mbogholi Msagha and Company Advocates the same year he became an advocate and in 1989 he became a District Magistrate.

In 1997, he was promoted to serve as the Chief Court Administrator of the Judiciary.

Justice Ouko was promoted to become the Registrar of the High Court and Accounting Officer for the Judiciary in 2002.

He was later appointed as a Court of Appeal Judge, in 2012 after which he pursued and graduated with a Master of Arts in Criminology & Criminal Justice from Egerton University in 2016.

He holds an award of the National Honour of the Elder of the Order of the Burning Spear (EBS) as awarded by President Kenyatta in 2019.