Uhuru confirms Ouko as Supreme Court judge
President Uhuru Kenyatta has appointed Justice William Ouko as the Supreme Court of Kenya judge after he was recommended for the position by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) last week.
The President announced Ouko's appointment in a Gazette notice dated May 11, 2021.
Justice Ouko beat six candidates to replace Justice Jackton Ojwang who retired in February last year.
The candidates included Justices Said Chitembwe, Njagi Marete, Nduma Nderi, Joseph Sergon, Dr Nyaberi Justry Patrick Lumumba and lawyer Alice Jepkoech Yano.
Until his appointment to the Supreme Court, Ouko has been serving as Court of Appeal judge and president.
“After deliberation and careful consideration of the performance of the various candidates who were interviewed for the position of Judge of Supreme court, the commission has recommended for appointment Justice William Ouko Okello as Judge of Supreme Court of Kenya and has submitted his name to the President for an appointment,” JSC’s vice-chair Olive Mugenda Prof Mugenda said last week.
JSC said all candidates shared bold, creative and exciting ideas for continuing the ongoing transformation of the Judiciary and the commission learnt a great deal from their many years of experience and their areas of specialisation but there was only one position.
“We congratulate Justice William Ouko, and we wish him well. To the other candidates, the commission has had the privilege to know you better and appreciate your hard work in the capacities in which you are serving the nation,” she said.
Sources within JSC, who sought anonymity, confided in People Daily that regional balance and seniority in the legal profession played a big part in Justice Ouko’s nomination.
“The fact that he hails from Nyanza region where the retired Justice (Jackton) Ojwang came from played a significant role in his choice, not forgetting the fact that as the President of the Court of Appeal, he is the most senior judge in the country outside the Supreme Court,” said the source.
Rising through the ranks
Born in 1961, Justice Ouko has risen through the ranks in the Judiciary having started off as a District Magistrate II in 1987.
He became Deputy Registrar, Senior Deputy Registrar and Principal Deputy Registrar from 1990 to 1997 and later became Chief Court Administrator in 1997.
He was later promoted to High Court Registrar in 2002. Justice Ouko was appointed Judge of the High Court in 2004 and in 2012 he was elevated to judge of the Court of Appeal.
He holds a Master of Arts degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice, Bachelor of Laws degree (LLB) from the University of Nairobi and a Diploma in Legal Practice from the Kenya School of Law.
Ouko, who failed to secure the Chief Justice position, told the commissioners he does not have a problem supporting CJ nominee Koome.