NAIROBI, Kenya Jan 11 – David Kenani Maraga formally exited the Judiciary Monday, on attaining the mandatory retirement age of 70.
He handed over the instruments of power to Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu who will hold the position in an acting capacity until a substantive Chief Justice is appointed.
Maraga handed over to Mwilu during a special sitting held by the Supreme Court in his honour.
An elaborate brief ceremony followed outside the Supreme Court where he was de-robbed and handed over the official vehicle before he boarded his private car back home, accompanied by his wife Yucabeth.
In his final remarks, Maraga encouraged judges “not to let Kenyans down but to be guided by the rule of law as enshrined in the Constitution.”
“I want to thank the people of Kenya for your unwavering support for me and for your steadfast support during difficult times as I served you,” he said, and thanked fellow judges, “my deep sense of gratitude goes to all the judges, Magistrates, Kadhis and judicial officials whose invaluable support enabled me to serve in my duties.”
He urged the judges to “always stand firm because God and the people of Kenya will defend you.”
He said he was worried of the “war drums being beaten already by politicians” and urged judges to “do the right thing to protect the country.”
He urged the Executive to always “respect the Constitution.”
Maraga’s tenure as Chief Justice was stormy, with consistent wrangles with the Executive which he always accused of subverting the Constitution.
Ahead of his departure, Maraga urged President Uhuru Kenyatta to dissolve the National Assembly for failing to enact laws on the two thirds gender rule. The matter is pending in court.
He has always accused the Executive of failing to adequately fund the Judiciary, in what is blamed on a pile of cases in courts countrywide.
But as he retires, Maraga will be remembered more for invalidating the election of President Kenyatta in 2017 due irregularities in a petition that was filed by his challenger Raila Odinga.
He then ordered a repeat of the election which was won by Kenyatta after Odinga’s boycotted.