No, we're not related: CJ Koome, Police IG clarify

Inspector-General of Police Japhet Koome is congratulated by Chief Justice Martha Koome at Supreme Court, Nairobi. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

The similarity in the last names of newly-sworn in Inspector-General of Police Japhet Koome and Chief Justice Martha Koome was the talk of town on Friday.

The CJ presided over the swearing-in ceremony of the new police boss on Friday at the Supreme Court in Nairobi.

Netizens were quick to point out their surnames, wondering if the two state officers are related or not.

Just minutes after taking an oath, the police IG said that reports the two were related were false, and their surnames were just a coincidence.

"I have seen the debate and gossip on social media. Let me make it clear that I have no blood relation to Chief Justice Martha Koome. It’s just that she is married to a Koome and my last name is Koome, the IG told a battery of journalists.

Chief Justice Koome reiterated his sentiments saying that they indeed are not related but come from the same region, Meru County.

"Thank you for clarifying that we are not blood-related. The name Koome is common in Meru, it means one who is very clever. I hope social media will correct that," Martha said amid laughter from attendees.

Inspector-General of Police Japhet Koome takes oath at Supreme Court buildings, Nairobi. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

Who is Japhet Koome?

Japhet Koome now becomes the fourth Inspector General in Kenya, a position established following the promulgation of the 2010 Constitution.

He was approved by the Parliamentary vetting committee for the position on Wednesday.

His name was proposed by President William Ruto in September, shortly after the Head of State unveiled his Cabinet nominees.

President Ruto said an ailing Mutyambai, whose contract ends in six months’ time (April 2023), had taken terminal leave to aid his recovery process.

Koome joined the police service in 1991 when he was enlisted in the then-Kenya Police Force as a Police Constable. This was after graduating from the University of Nairobi in 1990, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering.

The new Inspector General previously served as the Nairobi Regional Commander of Police and also as the Sub-County Police Commander of Central Police Station in Nairobi.

Chief Justice Martha Koome

Martha Karambu Koome, 62, was born in Meru County and made history as the first woman in Kenya to occupy the Chief Justice seat.

Koome holds an LLB from the University of Nairobi and was admitted to the Kenya Bar after completing the professional law course in 1987.

In 2010, Koome completed an LL.M in Public International Law at the University of London.