I’ll be the last person to chastise you, Chief Justice tells President

Friday, January 24th, 2020 00:00 |
Judges follow proceedings during the launch of the State of the Judiciary and the Administration of Justice Annual Report, yesterday. PD/Kenna Claude

Hillary Mageka @hillarymageka

Chief Justice David Maraga on Thursday appeared to have had a road to Damascus moment when he hosted President Uhuru Kenyatta during the launch the State of the Judiciary and Administration of Justice Annual Report.

Maraga, who in December angrily criticised Uhuru’s administration for reducing the Judiciary’s budget and declining to appoint 41 judges proposed by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), said he would never ridicule the President.

“He is not only the chief of the Executive, he is our Head of State, Commander-in-chief our Defence Forces. He is the unifying factor. And I recognise that Your Excellency,” the CJ said.

He added: “When I had a press conference last December, I raised a few issues, some of which have been misunderstood. I saw on social media that the arms of the government are at loggerheads. That’s not correct,” Maraga said.

Respect authority

The Chief Justice said that in the process of discharging their mandates, the heads of the arms of government sometimes disagree on some issues.

“I am one person, who respects authority. I will be the last person to stand and appear like nakusomea (reprimanding you). In fact, I will be the last person to have a fight with you, your deputy William Ruto or opposition Chief Raila Odinga,” he said, amid cheers from the participants who included Supreme Court judges, JSC commissioners, judges and magistrates.

Last December, Maraga aired his frustrations over what he claimed was being belittled and mistreated by the Executive.

He said the mistreatment was an attempt to control the Judiciary.

“The Judiciary has been treated and continues to be treated contemptuously,” he said and listed several incidents and actions which he said were meant to demean the Judiciary.

He threaten to boycott State functions unless he and the Judiciary were treated with respect.

“Unless I am treated with the respect I deserve, I will choose state functions to attend,” Maraga said during a press conference at Supreme Court grounds.

Mutual respect

But on Thursday, Maraga was full of praises of the President.

“You play from a different league, you are in a senior league, mine is on a lower level. My league is with that of the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Senate. That is where I belong ...the other officials of government are below us, that how I understand it,” he said. 

Maraga asked for mutual respect among the three arms of government.

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