Former CJ Maraga recounts how Uhuru’s ‘we shall revisit’ statement was effected

Former CJ Maraga recounts how Uhuru's 'we shall revisit' statement was effected
File image of Retired Chief Justice David Maraga. PHOTO| COURTESY

“I have always said, we have a problem with our judiciary. Irregardless we respect, but we shall revisit. We shall respect but we shall revisit this agenda… Maraga thinks he can overturn the will of the people, we shall show you in 60 days that the will of the people cannot be overturned by one or two individuals… Tutarudi, natukishamaliza we tutarevisit hii mambo yenu…”

Those were the words of President Uhuru Kenyatta on September 2, 2017, just a day after then Chief Justice David Maraga — in a landmark ruling — nullified the presidential election and ordered a new vote be held within 60 days.

Kenyatta, who was addressing a meeting of Jubilee political leaders at State House, was visibly angry after his apparent victory was overturned, in a historic ruling that was the first in Africa.

He warned that after the repeat presidential election he would ‘revisit’ the agenda on nullification of his election. While this would have passed as a remark made in the spur of the moment, Retired Chief Justice David Maraga now reveals that this was more than just a threat.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Citizen TV, Maraga said he initially took the President’s remarks lightly but later on things took a turn for the worse so much so that communication was cut between him and the Head of State.

“When the President made that statement, what came to my mind immediately was that it was a statement made in the spur of the moment… As far as I was concerned that was it. But subsequently when you see some things, you say ‘ wait a minute, this would ordinarily not be done,'” said Maraga.

The retired Chief Justice said before nullifying the election he had a cordial relationship with the President Kenyatta but later on they stopped communicating.

“Before the decision, there was cordial communication. For instance I remember the President was concerned about injunctions stopping government from carrying out projects. We discussed it and he understood where we were coming from… But after that decision, discussions became rarer to a a point where you are not even communicating,” said Justice Maraga.

He went further to reveal that the Judiciary budget was also deliberately slashed to an extent of almost grounding court operations.

“I got the sense that the slashing of the budget was deliberate and let no one misunderstand me to think that we expected Ksh.100 billion. I know we are not a very rich country but when you consider the consideration of the whole budget you can see the amount you are getting is completely inadequate and that is a frustration,” said the former CJ.

Maraga pointed out that the development vote of the Judiciary budget was extensively cut from about Ksh2 billion to Ksh.5o million.

“That is when you ask yourself what is not happening here. And of course the cold kind of reception and treatment you get you realise it was because of that decision,” added Maraga.

Nonetheless, the retired chief justice maintains that he has no regrets for nullifying the 2017 Presidential election.

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Story By Benjamin Muriuki
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