Lady Justice Martha Koome in May 2021 became the first female Chief Justice in Kenya.
This is a fete that was welcomed by many, with hopes high that her rise to the top of one of the key institutions in the country is a signal of better things to come.
For Prof. Masibo Lumala, a gender specialist, Koome’s rise to the helm of the Judiciary should be the start of better things to come, especially for women in leadership.
“Now that we’re having a female CJ, a first one in Kenya, we’re seeing some positive development as far as gender is concerned,” said Prof Masibo who is also a lecturer at Moi University School of Information Sciences, Department of Communication.
In an interview with Uasin Gishu News in Eldoret town, the don said Lady Justice Koome is now holding one of the most powerful positions, not because she’s a woman, but because she first applied for it, and convinced the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) panel that she merits the position.
He is now challenging women eyeing, be it political seats in the coming general elections, not to wait to be handed nomination slots but vie for the seats they know they can deliver.
“Playing feminine cards is very good but is not good enough. Women have to work hard and prove their worth like the likes of the late Bomet Governor Joyce Laboso, and current governors Charity Ngilu (Kitui), and Kirinyag’as Ann Waiguru have done,” noted Prof Lumala.
The gender specialist also expresses the need for massive public sensitization exercises, that will help change the mindset of Kenyans about women leadership.
“We need to change the mindset of Kenyans. There is a need for civic education to have people understand that family is not about a man, woman, or children but all of us, and Kenya is a family. Let us teach people that leadership is not about gender but the ability to deliver services,” noted the Moi University Lecturer.