NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 11 – Acting Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu gave a glowing personal tribute to the outgoing Chief Justice David Maraga, who officially handed over instruments of power on Monday morning as he exited office on attaining the mandatory retirement age of 70.
Maraga, born on January 12, 1951, 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.
Article 167 (2) sets the Chief Justice’s term as a period not exceeding ten years, or retirement age, whichever comes first. Maraga assumed office in October 2016
In her remarks, Mwilu praised Maraga as a man of integrity who served selflessly, one who had faith in God and a protector of the constitution.
“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,” said Mwilu.
Mwilu who served as a Deputy to Maraga said she learnt a lot from him, describing his leadership style as exemplary.
In the past four years Maraga was at the helm, Mwilu said he led with knowledge, fair and balanced deposition and a courteous demeanor with a neutral and sensitive consideration of opinion of colleagues in the Supreme Court, which he led as President, and submissions of councils.
She said the CJ leaves behind a legacy which will forever be remembered, assuring that the Judiciary will ensure the continuation of his legacy.
“You leave a proud irreversible legacy particularly in regards to harnessing technology, judicial independence, protecting and entrenching the rule of law. As you move to the next phase of your career, rest assured that your legacy is firmly and securely assured,” Mwilu said.
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.
“My fellow colleagues and judges, the people of Kenya have bestowed upon you to be the guardians of our constitution, to uphold the rule of law. Politicians have no better power than those with judicial authority, do not let Kenyans down, stand up and do the right thing,” he said.
He also urged the Executive to always “respect the Constitution.”