My attention has been drawn to statements by political leaders at a rally in Baringo this afternoon where they accused the Judiciary, and specifically myself, of taking sides in ongoing political disputes.
I would not ordinarily respond to statements made by politicians in the course of campaign activities, but these accusations are particularly unfortunate, based as they are on completely wrong premises.
I therefore wish to state the following:
1. At no time did I ask the IEBC not to proceed with ballot printing, contrary to statements by Deputy President William Ruto and other politicians at the Baringo rally. To the contrary, the comments I made in Mombasa and elsewhere, which were either deliberately or inadvertently taken out of context, were in reference to the courts’efforts to expeditiously clear the numerous petitions arising from the party primaries in order not to inconvenience the printing of ballot papers. Video and audio recordings that confirm this have been made publicly available.
2. I have always been at the forefront of defending the cardinal principle of decisional independence of judges, and at no time have I ever directed any judge or judicial officer on how to determine the cases before them.
This is consistent with my Oath of Office as Chief Justice of the Republic of Kenya, and forms the foundation for an independent and robust Judiciary that is a neutral arbiter not only in political disputes but in matters of justice in general.
We in the Judiciary are open to constructive engagement, including being criticised. However, when political leaders cast aspersions on the administration of justice based on a misinterpretation of my statements, it has the potential to impair public confidence in our courts, and this concerns me a great deal.
The Judiciary has, over the last five years, been undergoing a critical transformation that aims at delivering justice in a timely, transparent and accessible manner to all Kenyans. We are fully committed to forging ahead with this transformation.
I wish to reiterate that the Judiciary will continue making its determinations on the basis of the constitution, the law, and evidence before it. It is important for leaders and the public to appreciate that any decision made by courts must meet the foregoing test.
HON. JUSTICE DAVID K. MARAGA, EGH
CHIEF JUSTICE AND PRESIDENT OF THE SUPREME COURT