Maraga faces off with two voters who wouldn’t take no for an answer


CJ Maraga
Chief Justice David Maraga at the Supreme Court

A face off ensued in the Supreme Court on Tuesday and Wednesday after two voters sought audience with Chief Justice David Maraga in a rather daring manner.

Kings Maina and Caleb Wamae mastered the courage to take on and publicly rebuke the six-judge bench of the Supreme Court for rejecting their applications to be enjoined in the petitions seeking the annulment of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory in the October 26 repeat presidential election.

On Tuesday, Justice Maraga, a stickler of time, had dismissed Mr Maina’s and a number of other applications seeking to join the case  – including one by the Attorney General  – owing to time constraints.

Maina would not take the dismissal of his application lying down. As the Chief Justice was bringing the pre-trial session to a close, he interrupted and was allowed to air his grievances, bringing the court to standstill for three and half minutes.

“I’m a voter I’m not just an applicant. Election of the president is about voter rights. You are the final court. You have denied me the right to be heard you have denied me the right to justice. Where do you wish I go to?” he pleaded with the court.

So confident was Maina that he told the CJ that his contribution was so critical that it would deconstruct the petition within 15 minutes.

These sentiments triggered laughter in the courtroom, marking a light moment for the men and women in black robes who had been through a rigorous day in court.

“My application was going to terminate the whole petition in 15 minutes.  You have taken me for granted. You have abused my rights. Whom do I go to? I pay taxes which run this court and this court is championing abuse of my rights. Where do I take recourse to? I need my rights to be heard. I’m not a joy rider.  I’m not a busy body,” Maina said.

Without mincing his words, the Chief Justice explained that it would not be possible to allow Maina join the case since some of the arguments raised in his application had been addressed by other parties in the case.

“Mr Maina we have heard you. You are one of the 19 million voters in this country. If we allow each of the 19 million voters to come and be heard in these petitions, we will need some two or more years to determine this case,” said Maraga.

“We have made our ruling, too bad we have not allowed you but that is the order we have made and it’s a considered ruling we have made,” the Chief Justice concluded as the court adjourned.

On Wednesday morning, Caleb Wamae accused the court of cruelty after dismissing his application in a ruling read by Justice Smokin Wanjala.

“I have a feeling that you have been too cruel to my application. I have been discriminated. Is it because I was representing myself?” questioned Mr Wamae. “I’m going home a disappointed person… I knew this was a last resort court having been denied my rights by IEBC now my rights are being denied by the highest court in the land. Your lordships, It’s unfair, It’s too cruel It’s not right,” he said as he rested his case.

Maraga, clearly agitated, once again explained the time constraints facing the court, urging Wamae to move to Parliament and ask for an amendment to have time to hear and determine a presidential petition increased to one year.

“…Talk to your MPs let them give us a year or so to hear a petition and we will accommodate all of you. But for you to say we are abusing your rights for refusing to let you join the case… I want you to think about that and mind your language. We have 19 million voters if we allow everybody we will not move. Our position is that we have done what we think is right,” a clearly irritated Maraga said.

The hearing of the petition formally began on Wednesday (November 15), with a judgement set to be delivered on Monday (November 20).

 

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Story By Benjamin Muriuki
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