Names of the Supreme Court of Kenya judges who will hear Azimio presidential petition against IEBC

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Below we have listed the names and profiles of the Supreme Court of Kenya judges who will hear a petition for Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga.The profiles are as follows:

Hon. Justice William Ouko

Hon. Justice Ouko has a wealth of experience in judicial and administrative service spanning over 34 years. He holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree (LL. B) from the University of Nairobi, a Diploma in Legal Practice from the Kenya School of Law and a Master of Arts degree in Criminology & Criminal Justice (MACJ).

He joined the judicial service in 1987 as District Magistrate II (Professional) rising to become a Deputy Registrar of the High Court in 1989. Later in 1997, he was promoted to serve as the first Chief Court Administrator of the Judiciary.

Subsequently, Hon. Justice Ouko was promoted to become the Registrar of the High Court and Accounting Officer for the Judiciary in 2002. During this period, Justice Ouko served as Secretary to the Judicial Service Commission and Secretary to the National Council for Law Reporting (NCLR). In 2003 he was appointed as a Joint Secretary in the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Goldenberg Affair.

Justice Ouko was appointed as a Judge of the High Court in 2004 and served in Malindi, Meru and Nakuru High Courts. He was appointed as a Court of Appeal Judge, in 2012 and on 9th March, 2018 he was elected by his colleagues as the President of the Court of Appeal where he served until 11th of June 2021.

On the 5th of May 2021, the Judicial Service Commission nominated the Hon. Justice Ouko for a seat at the Supreme Court of Kenya after competitive interviews. On 14th May, 2021, he was appointed to the position by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Kenya, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta. Subsequently, on the 21st of May 2021 Hon. Justice Ouko was sworn in as a Judge of the Supreme Court of Kenya.

Besides serving as a Judge, Hon. Justice Ouko has served as member of the Delinking Committee of the Judiciary and the East African Judicial Education Committee. Justice Ouko has been involved in various reform initiatives as a member of the Government of Kenya Technical Committee on the Implementation of Legal Sector Reform Programme, the Reform and Development Committee of the Judiciary and as Chairperson of the Task Force on Judicial Reforms (2009). The recommendations of this Task Force informed to a large extent the provisions of the Chapter on the Judiciary in the Kenya Constitution 2010.

Justice Ouko has also been involved in other change and reform initiatives as Chairperson of the Sub Committee of the National Council on the Administration of Justice (NCAJ) to monitor the administrative and contingency management plan to mitigate Covid-19 in Kenya’s Justice Sector (2020); Chairperson-Judiciary Transformation Programme Implementation Steering Committee (2011-2012); Chairperson of the Core Organizing Committee for the 3rd Regional Symposium on Greening the Judiciaries in Africa, (initially scheduled for August 2020, in Nairobi, Kenya, but was postponed due to COVID-19) (2020).

Hon. Justice Ouko has been involved in various meetings and speaking engagements both in Kenya and abroad representing the Judiciary. He is a trainer and Mentor for the Kenya Judiciary Academy on various subjects, for Judges and Magistrates. He continues to facilitate the Annual Kenya and Regional and Africa Studies Program for Senior Military and Government Officers, conducted by the National Defence College, Karen, Nairobi.

In the service of humanity and in giving back to society, Justice Ouko is engaged in mentorship engagements for youth in schools and continues to take part in fundraising to assist needy children and mentorship programs as a member of his alma mater the Kagumo Old Boys Association.

In recognition of Justice Ouko’s exemplary and distinguished service to the Nation, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Kenya, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta conferred him with the award of the National Honour of the Elder of the Order of the Burning Spear (EBS) in 2019 and the National Honour of the Chief of the Order of the Burning Spear (CBS) in December 2020.

He is a member of the Law Society of Kenya, Kenya Magistrates & Judges Association (KMJA) and the Commonwealth Magistrates & Judges Association (CMJA).

 Hon. Justice Isaac Lenaola

Hon. Justice Isaac Lenaola is an alumnus of the University of Nairobi and the Kenya School of Law. After admission to the bar, he practiced law in Nairobi specializing in Commercial Law and Land Law and served as a Commissioner both at the Peoples Commission of Kenya (PCK) and at the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission (CKRC). He also served as a member of the Tribunal Investigating the conduct of Puisne Judges.

He joined judicial service in 2003 and worked as Resident Judge in Embu, Meru, Machakos and Kakamega High Courts. As a High Court Judge, Hon. Justice Lenaola also served as a Commissioner at the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).  He was previously a Member of the Board, Judicial Training Institute (JTI) (now known as KJA) and Chairman of the Kenya Magistrates and Judges Association (KMJA) and Treasurer of the East African Magistrates and Judges Association (EAMJA).

Until his appointment as Judge of the Supreme Court, Judge Lenaola was the Presiding Judge of the Constitutional and Human Rights Division at the High Court in Milimani, Nairobi where he rendered illuminating and ground-breaking decisions on human rights, devolution, separation of powers among other areas of jurisprudence.  In all the stations he served outside Nairobi, he is reputed for diligence, hard work and has on many occasions been cited as an example in the best of case management and backlog clearance.

Justice Lenaola has served as Judge and Deputy Principal Judge of the Court of First Instance of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) from 2011 to 2018 and as a Judge at the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone (RSCL) from 2013 to-date. 

He is President of the Advisory Council of the Strathmore Institute for Advanced Studies in International Criminal Justice (SIASIC) and President of the International Association of Refugee and Migration Judges (IARMJ). He is a Fellow of McLaughlin College, York University, Toronto, Canada and Fellow, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb). He is also Chairman of the Judicial Action Group (JAG) and a member of the Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges Association, (CMJA), the Accountability Panel of the Wildlife Justice Commission (WJC) and also the African Judges and Jurists Forum (AJJF).

He was awarded the Law Society of Kenya award for distinguished service in the Administration of Justice (2008), the East African Law Society honorary membership award for exemplary service and the development of jurisprudence in Kenya and the East African Region (2015), as well as distinguished service awards in the service of the International Association of Refugee and Migration Judges (IARMJ) (2014 and 2018).  He is also a recipient of the Moran of the Burning Spear (MBS) from the President of the Republic of Kenya for distinguished service in the administration of justice in Kenya and the East African Region. In July 2022, he awarded the rank of Chief of the Burning Spear (CBS).  He has also been named Jurist of the Year by the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)—Kenya Chapter (2019).

Justice Dr. Smokin Wanjala

Justice Wanjala is a Judge of the Supreme Court of Kenya having been appointed in 2011.  Between 2011 and 2016, he was a member of the Judicial Service Commission (representing the Supreme Court) and Chairperson of the Commission’s Human Resources and Administration Committee.  The Hon. Judge was appointed as the Judiciary Representative to the Council of Legal Education in 2019. He is the current Director, Kenya Judiciary Academy (KJA).

Justice Wanjala is a holder of a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B, Hons.) from the University of Nairobi, a Post Graduate Diploma in Law from the Kenya School of Law, a Master of Laws (LL.M) from Columbia University, New York, and a Doctorate in Law (PhD) from the University of Ghent, Belgium.

Before his appointment to the Supreme Court of Kenya, Justice Wanjala served as a Law Lecturer and later, Senior Lecturer at the University of Nairobi for nineteen (19) years (1986-2004). While still lecturing at the University of Nairobi, he served as the Joint Secretary to the Commission on Illegally and Irregularly Acquired Public Land (the Ndung’u Commission) in 2003. He is credited with having overseen the compilation and writing of what has become popularly known as the Ndung’u Report. Justice Wanjala was the first Chairman of the Public Complaints Committee on the Environment (PCC) which is one of the Compliance Committees of the National Environment and Management Authority-NEMA (2002-2004).

He was appointed Assistant Director of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) in October 2004, where he served in that capacity until 2009.

He has many publications to his credit including books and articles in the fields of Law, Human Rights and Governance. He has published locally and internationally. Apart from his accomplishments in academia as a Law Teacher and Author, Justice Wanjala has participated in major research projects leading to the compilation and production of seminal reports.

Justice Wanjala is one of the four founder members of the Centre for Law and Research International (CLARION) where they pioneered Civic Education in the Country. He is a member of the International Commission of Jurists, ICJ-Kenya Chapter and the Kenya National Academy of Sciences. He has recently delivered lectures at the International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA) during the Institution’s Summer Lecture Series. He is a member of the Advisory Board of Columbia Global Centers – Nairobi, Kenya; which is one of the nine World-Wide Regional hubs established by Columbia University to enhance research and collaboration for the benefit of humanity.

In 2008, Justice Wanjala became a subject of Biographical Record in Marquis “Who is Who” in the World, 25th Edition. Inclusion in this Biography is limited to individuals who have contributed significantly to the betterment of society.

In 2012, Justice Wanjala received the Presidential Award of the Chief of the Order of the Burning Spear (CBS) [First Class], the 4th Highest Civilian Award in Kenya for his distinguished service rendered to the Nation.

Hon. Justice Njoki Susanna Ndung’u

Hon Lady Justice Njoki Ndungu is a Judge of the Supreme Court of Kenya. She is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya and holds both a Masters in Law Degree (LLM) in Human Rights and Civil Liberties and a Diploma in Women’s Rights. She has previously worked as State Counsel in the Office of the Attorney General; Programme Officer at the Institute for Education in Democracy; National Protection Officer at United Nations High Commission for Refugees and Political Analyst in Conflict Management at the African Union.

Lady Justice Ndungu is a former Member of the Pan-African Parliament and also a Member of the 9th Parliament of the Republic of Kenya, where she sat in the Standing Committees on Defense and Foreign Affairs; Administration of Justice and Legal Affairs; and the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Constitution. She is the architect of the Sexual Offences Act 2006 and of the amendments to the Employment Act 2007 providing for paid maternity and paternity leave as well as to the Political Parties Act 2007 on affirmative action measures for women in political participation.

Lady Justice Ndungu sat as a member of the Committee of Experts that drafted the Kenyan Constitution and has received international and national recognition for her work. She was awarded the UN Person of the Year in Kenya 2006 and the International Commission of Jurists – Jurist of the Year Award 2006. Further, she has received 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).

Justice Mohammed K. Ibrahim

Hon. Mr. Justice Mohammed Ibrahim was appointed a Judge of the inaugural Supreme Court of Kenya on 16th June, 2011 after an open and competitive interview.

He is the Chairperson of the Judiciary Committee on Elections having been appointed on 16th August 2021 by the Chief Justice.

Justice Ibrahim was elected on 17th May 2022 to represent the Supreme Court as a member of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

He studied law at the University of Nairobi before entering private practice. He joined the firm of Messrs Waruhiu & Muite Advocates in November 1982 and was subsequently admitted to the Roll of Advocates on 11th January, 1983. He was the first from among the Kenyan Somali community to be admitted to the Bar as an Advocate. He progressed in the firm becoming a salaried partner in 1985 and a full partner in 1987. He went on to establish his own practice, Mohammed Ibrahim & Associates, in 1994. The firm subsequently expanded to become Ibrahim & Isaack Advocates in 1997. The firm litigated civil and constitutional cases, specialized in banking law, company law, bankruptcy, commercial law, property law, conveyancing and insurance law.

The Judge has invested heavily both personally and professionally in securing rights for minority groups, particularly the Somali community, in Kenya. He fought against the discrimination of Kenyan Somalis when the Government gazetted the use of “pink cards” which were secondary identity cards issued upon provision of further proof of verification of citizenship, and which was used to relegate the Somali community to second class citizens.

He has a strong commitment to social justice and while in private practice took on pro bono activities and community service, even in the face of great difficulties. As a result of his opposition to aspects of the one-party regime, he was detained without trial in July 1990 and spent one month in solitary confinement in Kamiti Prison for giving legal advice and supporting pro-democracy champions. He was an active member of the Law Society of Kenya and in 1994 he was elected to the Council for a term of one year. He has worked with Kituo Cha Sheria and was a member of the Board of the Legal Education and Aid Programme (LEAD). He was a founding trustee of the human rights organization, Mwangaza Trust, until 1994. He is a past member of Lawyers Committee for Human Rights and a current member of the Kenya Magistrates and Judges Association.

He was appointed as a Judge of the High Court on 22nd May, 2003 and first served at the Civil Division of the High Court, Milimani, Nairobi from June until July 2003, when he was transferred to the Commercial Division of the High Court at Milimani. In 2004, he was appointed to the newly established Judicial Review and Constitutional Division of the High Court, where he remained until he was transferred to the Eldoret High Court in January 2006. He was Resident Judge at Eldoret between 2007 and 2009 where he heard matters for the entire North Rift Valley, occasionally assisting the High Court in Kisii. In July 2009, he was transferred to the High Court at Mombasa, where he also served as Resident Judge until he was then elevated to the Supreme Court of Kenya.

Hon. Lady Justice Philomena Mbete Mwilu

The Hon. Lady Justice Philomena Mbete Mwilu, was appointed on 28th October 2016 as the 3rd Deputy Chief Justice and Vice President of the Supreme Court of Kenya. The Hon. Lady Justice P. M. Mwilu is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya with over 37 years of experience in the legal profession and holds both Bachelor and Master of Laws degrees from the University of Nairobi. She was admitted as an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya in 1984.

She was in private legal practice in various law firms in Nairobi for the first seven years following her admission to the Bar. Thereafter she ventured into the corporate world working as a Senior Legal Officer in insurance; Board Secretary in charge of the day-to-day running of a State Corporation in regulation; the Deputy Chairperson of the Energy Tribunal; and later as Director on the Board of the Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company before being appointed a Puisne Judge in 2007.

Hon. Lady Justice P. M. Mwilu served in the Commercial Division of the High Court in Nairobi and later the High Court in Eldoret. She subsequently served at the Criminal Division High Court in Nairobi and thereafter was appointed to head the Environment and Land Division. In November 2012, she was appointed a Judge of Appeal where she served until her appointment as the Deputy Chief Justice.

On 3rd May, 2017 she was elected by her colleague Justices of the Supreme Court to represent them as a Commissioner at the Judicial Service Commission. Her Ladyship was appointed by the Hon. the Chief Justice to serve as the Judiciary Ombudsman and the Chair of the Implementation Monitoring Committee of the Sustaining Judiciary Transformation (SJT): A Service Delivery Agenda 2017 – 2021, the Honourable the Chief Justice’s five-year strategic blueprint for the institution. Upon the retirement of Chief Justice Emeritus Hon. Mr. Justice David K. Maraga on 12th January, 2021, Lady Justice Mwilu assumed the Office of Chief Justice in acting capacity pending the recruitment and appointment of the Hon. Justice Martha Koome.

In the discharge of her social responsibility, Lady Justice Mwilu has passionately role-modelled for the girl child and has actively mentored many girls and boys in secondary schools across the Republic of Kenya by attending their schools and giving much needed guidance. She has actively participated in church events, including assisting in the construction of churches, as well as in charity events. For her service to society, the Deputy Chief Justice was decorated on 11th April, 2017 by the Head of State, H. E. Uhuru Kenyatta with the award of Moran of the Golden Heart.

Lady Justice Mwilu is a mother.

Hon. Chief Justice Martha K. Koome, EGH

The Hon. Chief Justice Martha K. Koome, assumed office on 21st May, 2021 as the Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court of Kenya. She is the 15th Chief Justice since independence and the third since establishment of the Supreme Court. She is the first woman to hold this office

Prior to her appointment as the 15th Chief Justice of the Republic of Kenya, she was a Senior Judge of the Court of Appeal. During the stint as an Appellate Judge, she headed the Criminal Division of the Court and in addition, chaired Committees which developed the Court of Appeal Practice Directions in Civil and Criminal Appeals as well as the Registry Manual that standardized the registry experience at the Court.

The Hon. Justice Koome joined the Judiciary in 2003 as a High Court Judge where she served until 2011. In that period, she was engaged in leadership and administrative roles within the High Court as the Resident Judge of the High Court in Nakuru and Kitale as well as the Head of the then Land and Environment Division of the High Court at Nairobi. She holds an LLB degree from the University of Nairobi, a Post- graduate Diploma in Law from the Kenya School of Law and an LLM degree from the University of London.

Upon her admission to the roll of advocates in 1987, she was a legal practitioner for fifteen (15) years engaging in conveyancing, commercial law, civil litigation, criminal litigation and family law. She has also been actively engaged in multiple community service projects and promoted children and family matters through volunteer and pro bono services. Some of Hon. Justice Koome’s milestones include being a Council Member of the Law of Society of Kenya between 1994 and 1996. She was involved in the formation of the East African Law Society in 1995 and even acted as the inaugural Treasurer. She participated in the discussions towards the enactment of the East African Community Treaty and institutions of the Community, such as the East African Court of Justice.

In 1997 she was elected Chairperson of the Federation of Women Lawyers Kenya Chapter (FIDA Kenya) and served in that position for two consecutive terms. In 2005 she was a member of the African Union Committee on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. In the same year she led the Kenyan delegation to Beijing during the major review of the Beijing Platform for Action.

She participated in the law review process which gave rise to the Constitution of Kenya, 2010. She became the President of the Kenya Magistrates and Judges Association (KMJA) in 2019 as well as an official of East Africa Magistrates and Judges Association. Most recently, Hon Justice Koome was voted as runner-up for the UN Kenya Person of The Year 2020 for her leadership and advocacy concerning the rights of children.