NAIROBI, Kenya, October 13 – The National Assembly vetted David Maraga on Thursday where the nominee for Chief Justice stated that he is not a fanatic despite being religious.
Appearing before the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee, Maraga said that he will ensure all Kenyans get equal justice regardless of their religion.
“I am a Christian living in Kenya and working in the Judiciary serving the people of Kenya. I am not a fanatic, I know there are some people who are not Christian. I am not going to trample upon their rights because they are not Christians. That is even not what my religion teaches. You have to have respect for other people’s rights,” he indicated.
He further pointed out that the Constitution emphasizes the need to respect other people’s rights.
“Now we have a Constitution with an elaborate Bill of Rights taking care of every shade of society. As a judge and a Christian, my duty is to ensure that the people who come to court are accorded their constitutional rights irrespective of their religion,” he said.
While he was being interviewed for the post by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) earlier, Maraga had stated that he would not work on a Saturday because of his religious beliefs.
He also explained that his first priority when he commences his term, will be to eliminate backlog of cases within the Judiciary and streamline the sector by dispensing of cases, which are five years old, as fast as possible.
“While practicing as a lawyer, I noticed quite a number of shortcomings in the performance of the judiciary. Courts would start as late as 11.00am sometimes they do not start at all without notice to the litigants or even the lawyers and cases drag on for many years, some even 10 years before they are heard,” he stated.
He outlined plans to put in place an ICT system to ensure that the court process is fast.
“When cases drag on in court for that long, they affect investment, they affect the affairs of individuals and they affect the economy of the country as a whole. So my vision is to eliminate backlogs, the cases that are pending in court. The backlogs are maybe any cases that are a year old,” he said.
The vetting comes in the wake of a petition challenging Maraga’s nomination to the post, with the petitioner citing the gross backlog of cases created by the Judge in Eldoret. “We want to be extremely fair when it comes to dealing with disciplinary issues.”
He lamented the poor investigations that were carried out during the Kiambaa case during the post election violence.
“The evidence placed before me in the Kiambaa case could not find a conviction,” he said.