PRESS RELEASE BY RT. HON RAILA ODINGA:
CONGRTULTING HON JUTICE DAVID MARAGA:
I wish to congratulate Honourable Mr. Justice Maraga for being nominated by the Judicial Service Commission for appointment as the second Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court of The Republic of Kenya.
Justice Maraga has a wealth of experience earned as a practicing advocate of many years standing and as a judge of the High Court and subsequently as a judge of the Kenya Court of Appeal. While in private practice he handled a number of public law cases which gave him a deeper understanding of issues relating to human and public rights, governance and the exercise of power and this has informed his positive world view and jurisprudence.
In the courts he has exhibited integrity, accountability and good behaviour, no doubt strengthened by his religious belief and exceptional uprightness. Coming from the inner sanctum of the judiciary he may be able to qualitatively blend both the theory and the practice of law as an heir to Dr. Willy Mutunga who emerged from a different background and history.
I note that his leading judgment in the case of Attorney General vs. Mohamud Mohammed Hashi and Others has become a persuasive legal precedent here in Kenya and abroad on the question of universal jurisdiction of domestic courts in piracy cases. Drug trafficking and substance abuse is a major global problem and this is his contribution in the fight against this menace.
He has handled issues of law reform and currently chairs the Judiciary Working Committee on Election Petitions. He set up the Kenya Court of Appeal in its new building in Kisumu.
Justice Maraga will face many challenges as the head of the Judiciary including the problems of eradicating corruption in our legal system, resisting the long and intrusive hand of the Executive, which constantly tries to control and manage the courts and stopping delays in the administration of Justice.
In the past Kenyans experienced cruel and crude injustice from the Judiciary itself. I bear such scars from the past including the year 2013. The Chapter on the Judiciary in our constitution that vests Judicial authority in our courts and tribunals gives independence, protection and security of tenure to judicial officers so that ‘justice shall be done to all, irrespective of status.’ I urge our new Chief Justice never to allow the courts to sacrifice, compromise or dilute, in any shape or form, this sacred duty delegated to the judiciary by ‘we, the people.’ Let him hold to the foundational values and principles of Kenya as a sovereign Republic.
All of us should never forget the heroic struggles of those who struggle to bring freedom and justice to our land.
The relevant authorities and agencies should expedite the appointment of the Chief Justice as currently the Supreme Court has remained in limbo because of lack of leadership and quorum.
Raila Amolo Odinga
Voi,September 22nd 2016.