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Chief Justice David Maraga retires as he urges judges not to let Kenyans down

By Selipher Musungu


Chief Justice   David Kenani Maraga has retired after serving in the Judiciary for 18 years.

Maraga, 70, took over from former CJ Dr Willy Mutunga on October 19, 2016 and will cease to be Chief Justice today at 11.59PM.

The outgoing Chief Justice handed over power to his deputy, Justice Philomena Mwilu in acting capacity until a new CJ is sworn into office.

Former Chief Justice David Maraga (right) hands over instruments of power to Acting Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu

In  the  ceremony  which  was  held  at  the  Supreme  Court  of  Kenya  and  attended  by  Supreme  Court  Judges,  Law  Society  Of Kenya  President  Nelson  Havi,  and  several  other  dignitaries.  Maraga  was  de-robed  to  signify  his  official  retirement  and  his  wig  and  robe  taken away.

Maraga  also  handed  over  his  official  car  and  components  which  included  the  removal   of  CJ  1 number  plate  and  national  flag  that  flatters  his car.

CJ  was  escorted  to  his  private  car  in  the  company  of  his  family  to  signify   the  beginning  of  his  civilian  life.  He   was accorded his final salute   as he exited the office.

Former Chief Justice David Maraga giving his farewell speech at Supreme Court of Kenya

DCJ Mwilu  described the  outgoing  CJ  as  a  visionary  leader  who  in  his  time  immensely transformed  Kenya’s  judicial  system.  She noted that words alone were not enough to justify his significance.

‘’I will not attempt to list al accomplishments of CJ David Maraga as these are well known. Yours my lord has been a life service. I have gained immensely from being your DCJ. You leave a proud, irreversibly legacy,’’ Mwilu said 

As he enjoys retirement, the outgoing CJ will be remembered for over-turning the election of President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2017 and subsequently advising him to dissolve parliament.

Below is Maraga’s last speech as the Chief Justice of the Republic of Kenya.

Former Chief Justice David Maraga at Supreme Court of Kenya

I stand here today full of gratitude and appreciation as I say goodbye to the Judiciary after about 18 years of service to the people of Kenya. During this time, I have served first as a Judge of the High Court, Judge of the Court of Appeal and finally as the Chief Justice of the Republic of Kenya. The time to say goodbye has come.

I want to start by thanking God for the opportunity He gave me to serve and the guidance He provided as I carried out my duties.

In my interview for the position of Chief Justice, given the fact that the Supreme Court must hear and determine Presidential Election petitions within 14 days, I was asked whether I would sit on a Saturday, my Sabbath day. I understood the question to require of me to make a choice between getting the job of Chief Justice and living out my faith. I determined to live out my faith and said I would not sit on Saturday.

Former Chief Justice David Maraga at the Supreme Court

Thereafter, in accordance with His steadfast promises, God took over. The rest is history. He gave me the job and fought all my battles throughout my term as the Chief Justice. I don’t know how to express my gratitude to Him for considering me worthy of His grace and favours.

A special Thank You goes to my dear wife and our children, as well as my extended family. Through your prayers and support, you have been to me what Harun was to Moses. I don’t take that for granted. I sincerely thank you.

I also want to thank you, the people of Kenya, for your unwavering confidence in and support for me. Your solidarity in moments of great adversity and peril, and your steadfast defence in moments of trials and tribulations, only strengthened my resolve and enabled me to serve you.

Supreme Court of Kenya courtroom

 Thank you too my dear colleagues, starting with the Deputy Chief Justice, my brother and sister Judges with whom I had the distinct pleasure of serving in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal and the High Court. My deep sense of gratitude also goes to all the other Judges, Magistrates, Kadhis, Judicial Officers and Staff of the Judiciary whose valuable support enabled me to satisfactorily discharge my duties.

The milestones we have achieved in moving the Judiciary transformation to where it is today is our collective achievement, and from which I draw enormous pride. I would also like to thank the Judicial Service Commission, the Commissioners, the Chief Registrar and all the Commission Staff. I know I pushed you very hard and made you sit for very long hours many times. Thank you for bearing with me.

A special Thank You also goes to the legal fraternity, through the Law Society of Kenya and the Justice Sector, in particular the National Council on the Administration of Justice.

Former Chief Justice David Maraga (centre)in Mombasa lat month

Your dedication to the rule of law and your unflinching demand for efficiency and equity in the administration of justice have been a source of motivation and inspiration to me.

Let me also thank the Executive and the Legislature for the work we have been able to accomplish as co-equal arms of Government in the service of the Kenyan public. I urge you to continue living by the constitutional edict of robust independence and constructive interdependence, which the Judiciary has embraced as a key philosophical and operational principle



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