5 June 2019 | Kenya’s Chief Justice David Maraga launched a scalding critique of corruption in Kenyan politics while he was on a visit to the United Kingdom. Maraga, an Adventist, was addressing the Oxford Union Conference yesterday.

He said that political elite in both the executive branch and parliament were “cherry-picking” provisions of the Constitution, choosing to enforce only those that were in some way advantageous.

The chief justice called out vote rigging and the very slow process of helping women to gain access to power. He questioned whether the legal regime and the constitution in Kenya were working.

“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 the chief justice, saying that Kenyan law is skewed to benefit business dynasties and certain contractors.

“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, blaming patriarchal society for holding back women from positions of power.

“Plundering public resources by the few elites in Kenya is the order of the day yet most Kenyans are living below the poverty line,” he said, adding that over a third of the national budget is lost to corruption each year.

Addressing his faith, Maraga said, “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.”

Kenya’s Supreme Court, of which Maraga is head, annulled the August 2017 presidential election. This led to fresh elections in October of that year.

There are about a million members of the Adventist Church in Kenya.

Picture of Chief Justice David Maraga via Wikipedia – Carltdpp – CC BY-SA 4.0

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