CJ Martha Koome and IG Japheth Koome
Inspector General Japheth Koome who shares a surname with Chief Justice Martha Koome clarified that they are neither spouses nor siblings. [ PHOTO / The Standard ]

A Twitter post claiming the Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome is related to Chief Justice Martha Koome is false.

The post, shared on 11th November 2022, claims that Chief Justice Martha Koome is the wife of Japheth Koome, the newly appointed Inspector General of the National Police Service.

The post says, “Chief Justice Martha Koome will today (11th Nov.) preside over the swearing-in of her husband Eng. Japheth Koome as the next IG of National Police Service at State House Nairobi. It’s coming home.”

The similarity in surnames between the two led to speculation that they could be siblings, with another Twitter user posting on 27th September, that “Martha Koome’s brother Japheth Koome has been nominated by Ruto as the next Inspector General. It is a calculated move in Supreme Court.”

The issue generated debate on social media. Investigations into the matter, however, revealed that both claims are false. Mr Koome himself clarified that he has no bloód relation with Chief Justice Martha Koome.

Speaking shortly after taking the oath of office, the IG said while they share the surname Koome, the CJ is married to one Koome Kiragu. “I have no bloód relationship with the CJ. It’s only that she is married to one Koome Kiragu and I’m Koome Nchebere,” Mr Koome explained.

“Last night there was talk on social media that Koome will be sworn in by Koome (Chief Justice),” he said. “There was a very interesting discussion that it was about wife and husband, brother and sister. Those are good wishes but it is not the case.”

For her part, CJ Koome noted that the name Koome was popular among the Meru community. “Thank you for clarifying that you are not my bloód relative… you should also have said that the name Koome is like Wafula, Anyango, Kamau, Mohammed… in other places. It is a name that is loved by many people. It means one who is very clever… so I hope the social media corrects that,” the CJ said.

Engineer Japhet Koome was sworn in on Friday 11th November at the Supreme Court grounds by Chief Justice Martha Koome. Japhet Koome is the fourth Inspector General in Kenya, a position that was established under the 2010 Constitution. Martha Karambu Koome, 62, made history as the first woman in Kenya to occupy the position of Chief Justice.

The Chief Justice and Inspector General both denied being related and so the claims that they are spouses or siblings are therefore false.

This fact check was published by Business Today with support from Code for Africa’s PesaCheck and African Fact-Checking Alliance.

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