Colleagues, friends and family of the late Court of Appeal Judge Otieno Odek on Thursday eulogised him as a devoted family man and a legal scholar who has left an indelible mark in the country’s legal profession.
Justice Odek, who was the first professor to grace the bench at the Appeal Court, was eulogised as “a fine legal scholar with admirable clarity of mind, an icon and astute jurist with unparalleled passion for his job,” by Court of Appeal President William Ouko.
“The nation has lost immensely and the Court of Appeal and the Judiciary are poorer without him,” Justice Ouko said in his tribute to the 56-year-old jurist.
Outside court, Lady Justice Wanjiru Karanja of Appeal Court, said the late Odek was humorous and did not shy away from enjoying a good laugh.
Lady Justice Martha Koome recalled the times she worked with Justice Odek in Nyeri, eulogising him as a talented team worker and strategic thinker.
“Prof operated from the future and worked backwards in planning his work,” she said.
“In Nyeri, we had case of backlog and data crisis. He personally went to the court registry and taught the staff how to maintain accurate records and prepared a strategy that helped us to clear the backlog of cases in 2013,” she said.
Justice Patrick Kiage who shared a bench with Prof Odek for six months in Kisumu said he was a humble soul despite his towering achievements.
“The most unexpected of all was his sudden departure from a life to which he had dedicated so much intellectual vigour and a passion for excellence and results,” said Justice Kiage who was also Prof Odek’s student.
Court of Appeal judges Justice Gatembu Kairu, Kathurima M’Inoti, Hannah Okwengu and Sankale Ole Kantai also eulogised the fallen judge.
His wife Anne Odek and children Billy, Ding and Ian, shared with mourners glowing tributes for the late jurist.
“He made it a habit to push everyone around him towards greatness and excellence,” said Ian.
The requiem mass conducted at Kisumu Law Court grounds was presided over by Archdeacon Boniface Obondi of ACK.
Members of the public and advocates were given time to view the body before it was transported to his home in Asembo, Rarieda Sub-County where he will be buried on Friday December 27.
Justice Odek was found dead in his Groovehut apartment in Kisumu on Monday 16, December.
An autopsy conducted by Government Chief Pathologist Johansen Oduor last Tuesday established that he died due to a blood clot on his right leg.
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