21 September 2017

Kenya: We Must All Adhere to the Law, Says CJ Maraga

Chief Justice David Maraga on Wednesday warned that democracy would be under threat if Kenyans did not follow the Constitution and laws passed by Parliament unquestioningly.

In a long lecture after reading the main body of the judgment, Mr Maraga said citizens regardless of their stature in society ought to adhere to all provisions of the Constitution.

And in a signal that the court would lead from the front and won't succumb to intimidation on how it should rule, he declared that the court would not hesitate to overturn the October 17 presidential election if the litany of omissions of law, the majority decision set forth, are not resolved.

"Whenever called upon to adjudicate, the court will reach the same judgment if the anomalies are not rectified irrespective of who the aspirants may be," said the CJ.

Mr Maraga seemed to buttress his Tuesday press briefing where he put his foot down, declaring that the Judiciary would not be intimidated through what he termed as persistent attacks on individual judges.

CONSTITUTION

In his address from the bench on Wednesday, he said the moment Kenyans ignore the Constitution they fought for, then they lose it.

"It is also in our view that the greatness of a nation lies not in the might of its armies, important as that may be, not in largeness of its economy, important as that may be, the greatness of a nation lies in its fidelity to the Constitution and the strict adherence to the rule of law and above all the fear of God," he said.

In noting the emotional investment Kenyans put in presidential elections, "then they should not fail to understand that the law must be followed up to the time their candidate win or loses," said the Supreme Court president.

HIGH PRESSURE

"Candidates for elective office and political parties often do anything to be elected besides the candidates, the citizens themselves hoping for an improved standard of living get equally agitated," he added.

Mr Maraga noted that the said factors render elections high pressure events and if mismanaged or candidates do not respect the rule of law and stakeholders don't perceive the polls as free and fair, the elections can cause instability as seen in 2007/08 skirmishes.

The CJ said the court would not shy away from putting its foot down whenever it felt that the Constitution was not followed even where the will of the people is clear.

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