Former Chief Justice David Maraga has in a candid interview suggested that President Uhuru Kenyatta should have been impeached for failing to appoint 41 judges whose names were submitted by the Judicial Service Commission.
In an interview on Citizen tv, Maraga said parliament should have ousted him, accusing President Kenyatta of violating the constitution by failing to appoint the 41 judge nominees whose names were submitted to him in 2019.
“The President has a constitutional duty to appoint judges but he has not done so because there are issues which have not been revealed. As far as I am concerned, the President has violated his constitutional duty. If it was in other countries, he would be impeached,” said Maraga during the interview conducted by veteran journalist Joe Ageyo.
Maraga, who proceeded into retirement after serving as CJ for four years, said some state agencies had raised issues with some of the judges in the list but refused to divulge any evidence to back their position to JSC as required.
“When one applies to be a judge, we do due diligence. In the case of the 41 judges, we had not received info from NIS. They said they had somethings to say about the candidates but could not give details,” the retiring CJ said.
He blamed Parliament for failing to rein in on the president for flouting the supreme law.
“Kenyans should direct their questions to Parliament. Why have they let the President flout the constitution?”
The outgoing CJ also blamed the woes facing the judiciary, including underfunding, on the decision by the Supreme Court judges to nullify the re-election of President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto in the August 2017 general election.
He singled out the slashing of the judiciary budget from Sh1 billion to Sh50 million last year as a means used by the government to punish the judiciary and interfere with its independence.
“I thought the ‘re-visit’ statement was one made at the spur of the moment. But subsequently the kind of things I saw later on are things that would ordinarily not be done,” he added.
Maraga however said his conscience was clear and he stands by the decision made by the Supreme Court in the session that he presided over in 2017, to give Africa its historic first ever presidential election nullification.
“After reviewing the evidence, we had to do what was required of us by the constitution. Yes, there was anxiety in the country. As an individual, I reflected and prayed over it before making a decision. I did not fear for my life since I did the right thing.
“An election is not an event; it is a process. For justice to be seen to be done, even those who lose should do so rightly. Elections must be transparent, verifiable and open.”
In conclusion, he said he was content with his tenure as CJ and would retire to take life easy and write his memoirs.
“My tenure at the helm of Judiciary was interesting. It was a good tenure. I did my best to serve the people of Kenya. Most of my complaints were on the funding of Judiciary which is needed to run it properly.”