Chief justice 'an African hero'
Publish date: 11 September 2017
Issue Number: 742
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Since Kenya's Supreme Court decision to nullify the result of last month's presidential election, Chief Justice David Maraga’s name has been on many lips. ‘He's an African hero!’ shouted 25-year-old Joseph Omullo the day the shock ruling was announced, trying to make himself heard over jubilant crowds in the teeming shantytown of Kibera in the capital Nairobi. An old woman nearby wept and hollered while holding aloft a five-day-old newspaper, a picture of Maraga on its cover. ‘This is the first time we've seen justice in Kenya,’ one man cried out. The Nation reports that the Chief Justice has remained stoic amid the public response, saying he is guided by two things: his absolute faith in God and in the law. When the Supreme Court invalidated the results of the 8 August presidential election, Maraga declared Uhuru Kenyatta's victory ‘invalid, null and void’, pointing to widespread irregularities in the electronic transmission of vote results. It was the first time a presidential election result was overturned in Africa. Earlier this year, he hit back at Kenyatta when the President campaigned in Maraga's native county to tell voters his government had given ‘their son’ a job. ‘He is an honest man, not pretending ... deeply religious,’ said lawyer Tom Ojienda, who interviewed Maraga before his Supreme Court nomination.