Nancy Makokha Baraza becomes Kenya’s first Deputy Chief Justice, a new post created under the constitution. She also becomes the highest ranking woman judge in Kenya.
Baraza brings to the post years of experience in the campaign for women’s rights tempered with long stints in government commissions. The first one she served in was the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission that drafted Kenya’s first official “new” constitution in 2002. That document came out of about a year and a half of conversations with people across Kenya about their vision of a new constitutional order. That draft was later amended by a constitutional conference and parliament but did not get the nod from the public in a November 2005 referendum.
Before her appointment, Baraza served as deputy chairwoman of the Kenya Law Reform Commission, which is charged with proposing amendments to existing statutes to keep them relevant to Kenya’s changing society. The commission has an added mandate of preparing laws to bring to life the provisions the country’s new constitution.