By Samuel Ouma
Kenyan Chief Justice David Kenani Maraga has officially retired.
Mr. Maraga, the 15th Chief Justice (CJ) in the country, announced his official retirement on Monday, January 11, 2021, during the official retirement ceremony held in the Supreme Court in Nairobi.
Article 167 (2) of the Kenyan constitution allows Chief Justice to remain in power for a period not exceeding ten years or after attaining the retirement age of 70 years, whichever comes first.
He assumed office in October 2016 as Dr. Willy Mutunga’s successor, and his exit means the deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu will be the new CJ in an acting capacity until a substantive one is appointed.
In his final remarks, Maraga started by thanking God for the opportunity to serve and for guiding him during his four-year tenure.
He also expressed his gratitude to his family, friends, and entire Kenyans for the unwavering support they accorded him.
“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,” said Maraga.
The outgoing CJ asked Kenyans not to tire of supporting judges to ensure the rule of law is upheld in the East African country.
He also urged judges to do what is right and follow the constitution to the latter.
“Today, I leave behind me a strong Judiciary, a professional and enthusiastic corps of Judges and Judicial Officers as well as staff who are deeply committed to the administration of justice, and an increasingly enlightened public whose confidence in and demand for our services grows by the day,” he continued.
In her inaugural speech, Mwilu lauded Maraga for his selfless and exemplary leadership.
She noted her former boss had left behind a great legacy characterized by judicial independence, protecting and entrenching the rule of law.
“Yours has been a life of service characterized by hard work, honesty and integrity, fidelity to the rule of law and the constitution and most importantly obedience and faith in God. When any reflection on the development on our constitutional democracy is undertaken, your name shall be written large,” noted Justice.
Maraga entered into the book of history in 2017 after he nullified presidential results citing irregularities.