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Kenya’s incorruptible Chief Justice: 7 facts about David Kenani Maraga

David Maraga’s declaration that the Kenyan August 8 election is null and void setting the platform for a new poll within 60 days shocked a continent and made him a prolific judicial figure. Here are 7 facts about CJ David Kenani Maraga.



Chief Justice David Maraga taking oath of office- Photo Credit Wikimedia Commons

The Supreme Court ruling that scrapped Kenya’s August 08 presidential election result was shaped by a new chief justice David Kenani Maraga. To the shock of many across the world, CJ Maraga proved that he is a staunch defender of judicial independence. The ruling underlines that Maraga acts within the law regardless of the implications and is not under the thumb of executive powers.

So who is the man that made even the world’s super power hang it’s head in shame for not doing more to keep their current president out of the White House? CJ Maraga (born in 1951) is the 14th Chief Justice of Kenya and President of the Supreme Court.

Here are a few things you should know about the man shaking the core of the continent’s election status quo:

1.Justice Maraga joined the bench as a High Court Judge in October 2003 having been appointed by retired President Mwai Kibaki


2.Justice Maraga then went through the mandatory vetting by the Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board in 2012. The Vetting Board unanimously declared him fit to continue serving in office. His vetting took an unprecedented twist when he demanded a Bible and swore before the vetting panel that he had never taken a bribe in his judicial career and would never take bribes in future

Read: Why the 2002 Kenyan elections remain a point of reference

3. During his vetting Maraga; a strict, Seventh-Day Adventist; said he would not work on Saturday, even for a presidential petition. The prophetic words must have been a factor in the period leading up to the current ruling.

4. Justice Maraga was appointed by retired Chief Justice Willy Mutunga in May 2012 to chair the Kenya Judiciary Working Committee on Election Preparations (JWCEP). JWCEP was constituted in 2012 to ensure the Judiciary was fully prepared to swiftly deal with any disputes that would arise from the March 2013 General Election.

The Kenyan High Court- Photo Credit WikiCommons

5. Still under the Chairmanship of Justice Maraga the Committee was reconstituted as the standing Judiciary Committee on Elections (JCE) in 2015.

Read: Kenyans return to polls in 60 days as Supreme Court nullifies Kenyatta’s re-election


6. He was part of a tribunal that found that Justice Joseph Mutava had, in collusion with others: allocated himself a file without the knowledge of the duty judge, proceeded to write a judgment in a case where he was being investigated, solicited a Sh2.5 million bribe on behalf of another judge and sought to influence a ruling on the Goldenberg case. The Goldenberg scandal is one of the most high profile corruption cases in Kenyan history.

7. Justice Maraga is expected to retire on 12th January 2021 once he becomes 70 years of age as stipulated in the Kenyan constitution and more notably a year before the next general elections.