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Kenya’s new chief justice Maraga vows to fight corruption

Maraga (left) congratulated by Uhuru Kenyatta
Maraga (left) congratulated by Uhuru Kenyatta

Nairobi, Kenya | AFP | 

Kenya’s new chief justice was sworn in on Wednesday pledging to root out corruption in the judiciary.

David Maraga, 66, replaces Willy Mutunga who took early retirement in June, triggering a parliamentary vetting process in which Maraga emerged as frontrunner out of a dozen candidates.

Maraga will preside over the country’s Supreme Court which will have ultimate responsibility for resolving any disputes surrounding next year’s general election, due in August.

Maraga was made a High Court judge in 2003 and then appointed to the Appeal Court in 2012 by then-president Mwai Kibaki.

“Corruption is a dark blot on the judiciary,” Maraga said at his swearing-in ceremony at State House in Nairobi on Wednesday morning. “Corruption is on the rise. I will fight corruption as part of a new culture at judiciary.”

He also promised to improve “service delivery” in a judiciary notorious for the glacial pace of court proceedings.

Saying “justice delayed is justice denied”, President Uhuru Kenyatta called on Maraga to clear a backlog of 20,000 cases. He also said Maraga should make resolving “more than 600 corruption cases pending in court” a priority.

On Tuesday Kenyatta told an anti-corruption summit in Nairobi he was “frustrated” by graft.

“I have done my part,” Kenyatta said, blaming others — including the police, judiciary and anti-corruption agency — for failing to prosecute corruption cases.

The stance of helplessness adopted by Kenyatta has been criticised in the Kenyan press and ridiculed on social media with users adopting the hashtag CryBabyPresident to mock the president.

 

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