Chief Justice David Maraga has given a harsh verdict on President Uhuru Kenyatta and the executive wing he leads. He did not spare the Legislature either.
In a stinging address to an international audience in the United Kingdom,Maraga accused the political elite, in the Executive and Parliament, for “cherry-picking” provisions of the Constitution, only implementing those that safeguard their personal or sectarian interests.
The CJ said despite the current Kenyan Constitution being praised as one of the most progressive and transformative constitutions in Africa; failure to tackle corruption and impunity, vote rigging and dithering in passing laws to help more women get into power were still big issues and wondered whether the new legal regime has worked for Kenyans despite the same The CJ said the country’s biggest problem is the politicians, tenderprenuers and bad behavior that has taken root overtime.
“Left on their own the legislative and executive arms of government, comprising mainly politicians and social elites, will implement the Constitution in an arbitrary manner, cherry-picking the easier and non-contentious provisions, always safeguarding their personal or sectarian interests. That is exactly what they have done in Kenya,” said Maraga.
Justice Maraga spoke at the Oxford Union Conference in the UK dubbed: ‘The quest for constitutionalism in Africa: a reflection on the interface between institutions, leadership and faith.’
He says the law in Kenya, just as is the case in the rest of Africa, is skewed to benefit business dynasties and tenderprenuers who influence presidential elections.
Maraga pointed out that unlike Europe where constitutionalism is tied to economic growth, in Kenya and Africa, the law is customized to suit certain interests.
“Three examples will suffice — failure to implement the gender equality principle under the Kenyan Constitution, failure to fight corruption and impunity and failure to hold credible elections,” said Maraga.
A case in which Parliament is challenging a High Court order that it should be dissolved for failing to implement the Two-thirds Gender Rule is currently before Maraga.
“Although the Constitution provides for gender equality in elective posts, 10 years down the line, the august House is yet to give effect to the two-thirds rule,” he said.
In his speech published in the Standard, The CJ said Kenyan women have fared poorly in elections yet politicians are still unwilling to give them a chance in leadership.The cause of the ping pong game by Parliament is the patriarchal nature of the society, says the CJ.
He added: “The gender rule has not been enacted because such legislation will disrupt patriarchal interests of the political elite.”
Maraga said while Kenya is a religious nation, her moral fabric is rotten. “That explains why the country is still reeling from corruption when majority of citizens are either Christians, Muslims and Hindus.”
“Plundering pubic resources by the few elites in Kenya is the order of the day yet most Kenyans are living below the poverty line.”Maraga added: “Although 80 per cent of the Kenyans are Christians, with a fair percentage professing Muslim, Hindu and other faiths, over one third of the national budget is lost to corruption every year.”
The CJ also said he still stands with the majority Supreme Court’s decision annulling the August 2017 Presidential election.
“I’m a Seventh Day Adventist Christian and the bedrock of the doctrines of SDA, as is the case with other churches and faiths, is integrity in whatever one does. Though I am a weak and sinful human being, as everybody else is, I will always stand with my decisions, including the Supreme Court decision of September 2017 on the Presidential Election Petition,” said Maraga.
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