The outgoing CJ handed over the tools of power at the Supreme Court on Monday, January 11, to Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu who will execute the office of the CJ on an acting capacity until another is appointed.
In the ceremony attended by Supreme Court Judges, Law Society of Kenya President Nelson Havi, and several other dignitaries, Maraga was de-robed to signify his official retirement from the job he has held since June 2016.
The event happening outside the Supreme Court saw Maraga’s wig and robe taken away.
CJ Maraga also handed over his official car and components. This included the removal of CJ 1 number plate and national flag that flatters his car.
Maraga’s retirement marked the third transition since the 2010 constitution. First was when the late Justice Evans Gicheru retired, and when Maraga succeeded Justice Willy Mutunga in 2016.
The CJ was then escorted to his private car in the company of his wife to signify the beginning of his civilian life. He was accorded a final salute as he exited the office.
The CJ’s retirement was somewhat different from that of his predecessor as CJ Mutunga did not wear his robe and wig to the ceremony.
Maraga also sat on the bench with other Supreme Cout judges following the absence of Justice Njoki Ndung’u from the event.
DCJ Mwilu defended the move arguing that while normally Maraga was required to sit on the ‘other side’, he was allowed on the bench on laws by the Supreme Court and that his official retirement was due midnight January 12.
In her tribute to Maraga, Mwilu described the outgoing CJ as a visionary leader who in his time immensely transformed Kenya’s judicial system. She noted that words alone were not enough to justify his significant contribution to the law, judiciary and service to the nation.
“I will not attempt to list all accomplishments of CJ David Maraga as these are well known. Yours, my Lord, has been a life of service. I have gained immensely from being your DCJ. You leave a proud, irreversible legacy,” Mwilu remarked.
Maraga urged members of the public and leaders alike to have respect for the law and offer support to Mwilu as she dispenses her duties.
“I trust you will give the same support to the acting Chief Justice until my predecessor is appointed. Without the rule of law, no one will be safe in this country,” Maraga urged.
He leaves office a decorated and award-winning champion of the law after attaining the mandatory retirement age of 70.
As he enjoys retirement, the CJ will be remembered for the great milestones achieved in the judiciary from the digitalisation of case hearings and filing to the infamous ruling to overturn President Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory in the August 8, 2017, general election.