David Maraga - 2017 Nominee

Nominee info

Chief Justice and President
Supreme Court of Kenya

Nominated by

Tue 10th October 2017


Justice Maraga presided over and joined a majority opinion of the Kenyan Supreme Court that nullified the results of the country's Presidential election on August 8 of this year. The majority of justices found that the country's electoral authority had committed multiple serious procedural errors in its administration of the election. Therefore, in the court's judgment, the commission failed "to conduct the presidential election in a manner consistent with the dictates of the constitution".

The court's decision was hailed in Kenya, and across Africa, as a significant democratic milestone: never before had a judicial body annulled the fraudulent election of an incumbent president. Indeed, the decision was met with widespread astonishment, even among supporters of the Kenyan opposition.

To overturn the official results of a national election is an extraordinary act for any court. In Kenya, it also places the justices at considerable personal risk. Although he said he accepted the court's decision, President Uhuru Kenyatta soon called Justice Maraga a "crook" and vowed to "fix" him and his court after the election process was over.

Supporters of Kenyatta and his Jubilee party later staged violent protests outside the court, prompting Justice Maraga to accuse the national chief of police of failing to respond to specific, credible threats against the members of the court. He was, he said nonetheless "prepared to pay the ultimate price to protect the constitution and the rule of law".

Justice Maraga is worthy of the IAPC's recognition in 2017.

Links of interest