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Kenya: David Maraga’s iron will and the IEBC’s “transparency” pledge

The Kenyan Judiciary is confronting Jubilee and National Super Alliance politicians over their frequent criticism of judges as the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) seeks to create transparency with the help of the Media Owners Association.



Kenyan elections

The Chairman of Kenya’s Judicial Service Commission (JSC) Chief Justice David Maraga has addressed the persistent attacks on the judiciary on a number of occasions leading up to the release of a comprehensive statement. In one of the media briefings Maraga said judges were prepared to pay the ultimate price to safe guard the constitution and rule of law. The judiciary attacks began after the Supreme court verdict which ordered the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to run fresh presidential elections. After the ruling Maraga directed all judiciary officers to continue discharging their duties as other arms of the government cannot interfere in the courts’ decisions.

Maraga said in the past few months a pattern had emerged where political leaders habitually hurled attacks at members of the judiciary, focusing either on individual judges or the institution as a whole.

“The Judicial Service Commission takes great exception to this development and demands that political and other leaders cease forthwith from this ignoble conduct that interferes with the work of the officers charged with the administration of justice,” he said on the steps of the Supreme Court Building in Nairobi. The Chief Justice was accompanied by senior JSC members and judges.

Read: AU Commission Chair Mahamat urges Kenyans to respect Supreme Court ruling


He listed President Uhuru Kenyatta, his deputy William Ruto, Nasa flagbearer Raila Odinga, his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka, National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale, Devolution Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri, and Kinango MP Gonzi Rai as some of the leaders who had recently tried to intimidate the judiciary.

Maraga told politicians that the judicial system had sufficient avenues for recourse should litigants be dissatisfied with decisions made by the courts.

“The most obvious one is appellate avenue, which the political leaders have themselves used extensively in the past. Allowing litigants to choose their judges would be tantamount to abdicating from a cardinal principle of judicial and decisional independence that we hold so dear,” said the CJ.

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

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

In a bid to further show the JSC is in earnest, Maraga issued a statement to the public which details his account of the attacks and the JSC’s continued pledge to see its mandate through.

“Since the Supreme Court delivered the judgement on the 2017 Presidential Election Petition on September 1, 2017, these attacks have become even more aggressive, culminating in lengthy uninterrupted demonstrations right outside the Supreme Court Building…” the statement reads.

“The Judiciary is an arm of Government equal to the Executive and the Legislature. If leaders are tired of having a strong and independent judiciary, they should call a referendum and abolish it altogether. Before that happens, the Judiciary will continue to discharge its mandate in accordance with the Constitution and individual oaths of office.”

“The Judiciary has not and will never seek to direct the other arms about how to perform their functions. In the same vein, we will not allow anybody to dictate to us how to discharge our mandate as given by the people of Kenya under the Constitution. We want to state that the rule of law must be allowed to prevail at all times.”

“We call upon Kenyans of goodwill to stand up for the independence of the Judiciary and the rule of law. On our part, we are prepared to pay the ultimate price to protect the Constitution and the rule of law,” the statement stated.

IEBC’s transparency


The Kenyan electoral body has been facing pressure to showcase the different tools they will utilize towards the election rerun process. As part of efforts to streamline the holding for the election rerun this month, the electoral commission has decided to broadcast the declaration of all constituency results live on TV. Among the issues raised by the Supreme Court when the election results were nullified was the electronic transmission of results, which were compromised by infiltration into the system.

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

The IEBC said in a public statement that the agreement was reached with the Media Owners Association who will facilitate the broadcast.


The live TV results broadcast is part of the measures being employed by the electoral commission to ensure transparency in the election re-run. The measure is to try and avoid the numerous voter irregularities identified by the Supreme Court.

The August 8 election result was annulled by the Supreme Court on September 1 after a petition was filed by the opposition over the several electoral irregularities. As a result, the IEBC set October 26 as the new date for the election re-run and the body said it will deliver an election that meets the standards set out by the Supreme Court.