NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 23 – On the eve of retired Chief Justice Willy Mutunga’s departure from office he told Capital FM News that big part of the reason he chose ‘early retirement’ was the 2017 General Election.
“If I retire in June next year which is when I attain the retirement age of 70, we’ll only have about five weeks to select my replacement given the General Election is in August.
“A year is sufficient time to deal with any legal challenges that may arise. Besides, there are over 40 judges who want to be the next Chief Justice.”
And what better replacement then, the Judicial Service Commission must have thought, than the man who chairs the Judiciary Committee on Elections.
One of the committee’s recommendations was for amendments to the law governing the hearing of Presidential Petitions which Maraga, if appointed, would preside over.
Therefore his perceived neutrality weighed heavily in his favour when the JSC prioritised the ability to work well with others – in this case Parliament – in their search for the next Chief Justice.
Relations between Parliament and the Judiciary have been strained with the former accusing the latter of overstepping.
An animosity which pretty much all who interviewed for the job of Chief Justice agreed was bad for business in terms of budgetary allocations.
When he interviewed for the position of Chief Justice, Maraga also presented as part of his package, his contribution to election jurisprudence and apparently, the JSC agreed.