A spouse is not entitled to property that the other party had before the two got married, Justice Martha Koome has said.
Justice Koome spoke during an interview by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), in which she is seeking to become the next Chief Justice following the retirement of Justice David Maraga.
“If I got married today and I have some property, my spouse is not entitled to it. And if I got married and my husband has some property, I am not entitled to it because that is his property,” she said.
However, on the other hand, Justice Koome believed that spouses are equally entitled to property or wealth that they have gotten during the marriage.
“When you stay together and develop this property then either party in the marriage acquires occupational rights,” she added.
She also believed that female judges do not face unique problems in their line of duty as compared to their male counterparts.
“The challenges that we face in the judiciary are completely gender-neutral, they are the same challenges that a male judge or a male judiciary officer will face. As women, we face the same challenges our male counterparts face. Leadership does not require a man or a woman, it should be based on skills,” she said.
Justice Koome will be battling for the seat against Justice Said Chitembwe, Fred Ngatia, Philip Murgor, Prof Patricia Kameri-Mbote, Justice Marete Njagi, Justice Nduma Nderi, Justice William Ouko, Dr Wekesa Moni and Alice Yano to become Kenya’s next Chief Justice.
Judge Koome was appointed Judge of the Court of Appeal in January 2012. Prior to the appointment to the Court of Appeal, she served as Puine Judge for over eight years and practised law for 15 years.
She began her legal career in private practice in 1988, running Shamala Koome Advocates.
She was one of the lawyers who actively participated in the clamour for the repeal of section 2A of the Constitution and for the Independence of the judiciary.