Appellate Court Judge David Maraga on Wednesday told the Judicial Service Commission that he would not sit on a Saturday even in the event of a time sensitive presidential petition should he be appointed Chief Justice.
The Seventh Day Adventist in response to a question from Senior Counsel Tom Ojienda said a presidential petition in his mind did not qualify as a matter of “life or death” and so he would not be inclined to violate the tenets of his faith in such an eventuality.
He said he would instead, in the said hypothetical situation, consult with his peers on the Supreme Court bench to find a way round the problem.
Fellow Court of Appeal judge Mohamed Warsame was however not satisfied with his answer and asked him, “what would happen if I, being a Muslim, said I would not sit on a Friday and (Supreme Court Judge) Jackton Ojwang for example said he wouldn’t sit on Sunday?”
Maraga was however “saved” from answering the question by the Chairperson of the Public Service Commission Margaret Kobia who is the acting JSC Chairperson until the next Chief Justice is recruited.
It was not the only “searching” question, as he put it, that was put to him in the course of his four hour long interview.
Attorney General Githu Muigai put several hypothetical’s to him asking him for instance what he would do should he be faced with a case where a surrogate refused to give up the child and the partners who donated the sperm and egg were estranged.
He also asked him how he’d handle a case where a family sought to take their loved one, in a vegetative state, off life support.
Ojienda also pushed to get his view on LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender) rights and building on that, to know if Maraga would push for an amendment to the law in the interest of the intersex.
Citing the Constitution on LGBT rights, Maraga said the law was clear on marriage being between a man and woman and on the question of intersex rights, Ojienda backed him into a “yes.”
Commissioner Mercy Deche on the hand asked a question to do with the termination of a pregnancy in the instance of sexual assault or incest and noted that Maraga did not use the word “abortion” in his answer.
Maraga who started his interview with a monologue on what it means to be Chief Justice, painted a picture of an incorruptible time stickler unafraid to make tough calls.
“I write judgments very fast and in Kisumu where I’m the Presiding Court of Appeal judge, we apologise if court starts even 10 minutes late.”
A court orderly that dared compromise him when he was stationed in Mombasa, he testified, was arrested. Source
In the first year in office, said Mr Justice Maraga, he would restructure the ombudsman’s role, establish a secretariat and hire ‘good” investigators to handle complaints against judges and magistrates.
Unlike a magistrate who cannot investigate judges without seeking CJ’s clearance, a senior judge can handle all the complaints against colleagues and magistrates.
Mr Justice Maraga told the JSC panel that he has heard of the Judiciary cartels and would smash them should they show up during his stewardship.