Odek showed his boss his final resting place

Justice Otieno Odek identified the site of his grave days before his death.

Justice William Ouko, the president of the Court of Appeal, said when he visited Prof Odek’s home weeks before he died, he showed him the site he wished to be buried.

Ouko, who was a close friend of the late Odek, eulogised him as a hardworking and dedicated judge, saying it was painful to witness his burial.“I didn’t know that this would become a reality. We’re today sending off a great mind,” he said during the burial in Memba, Siaya County, yesterday.

Outstanding judge Odek, he said, would write a 100-page judgment in one day.Yesterday, the village hosted more than 20 judges led by Chief Justice David Maraga, who came to say farewell to the man described by many as “outstanding judge who had clarity of mind.”

“Before joining the Judiciary, Odek had an illustrious career as a law teacher, legal practitioner and a global champion of intellectual property rights,” said Maraga.“It is one of the ironies of life that even though on the global stage he was acclaimed, he was largely unknown to many Kenyans,” said Maraga, adding that he was destined for good things.

Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu said the Judiciary will miss Odek’s great mind.Odek’s widow Anne described him as a loving man and pillar of the family, saying his people had a lot of hopes in him.

While trying to mend fences with the family after it emerged that there was a disagreement before the burial, Anne apologised to those she might have wronged.

Anne Odek while paying tribute to her late husband Justice James Otieno Odek at Memba village in Rarieda Siaya County on December 27, 2019. [Collins Oduor/Standard]

“May I take this opportunity to ask those I wronged to forgive me as I also forgive those who wronged me,” she said.Justice Odek was found dead at his apartment in Kisumu on December 16.

An autopsy conducted by Chief Government Pathologist Johanssen Oduor on Monday revealed that he had a clot in his right leg which caused a blockage in his arteries. 

Sudden death 

Odek, who was a Court of Appeal judge in Kisumu at the time of his death, also served as director of the Judiciary Training Institute between 2016 and 2018.He was sworn in as a Court of Appeal judge in 2012. In 2011, Odek unsuccessfully applied to be a Supreme Court judge.Busia Senator Amos Wako, who eulogised Odek as a go-getter, said he knew him in 1987 before he joined the Judiciary.

“He did what many of us would take their whole lives to do and many people benefited from his generosity. As much as we mourn the death of Odek, let’s also celebrate his life,” said the former Attorney General.Alego-Usonga MP Samuel Atandi said the cause of Odek’s sudden death must be investigated conclusively.

“It has become normal for people to die in this country and the cause of their death is not talked about after their burials,” Atandi said.

ODM party leader Raila Odinga accused the Judiciary of being a weak link in the war against corruption.

“We will stand with you in defence of the judicial independence so that you don’t operate at the mercy of the executive,” Raila said.

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