Justice David Maraga Biography

David Maraga whose full name is David Kenani Maraga was born in 1951, he hails from Bonyamatuta, Nyamira County. He is the 14th Chief Justice and the president of the Supreme Court of Kenya. He preceded Chief Justice Willy Mutunga.

Justice David Kenani Maraga,  was the Presiding Judge of the Court of Appeal in Kisumu. He was appointed to the High Court in October 2003 and to the Court of Appeal in 2011.

A holder of both an LL.B and an LL.M from the University of Nairobi, he also chairs the Judiciary Committee on Elections tasked with overseeing election petition hearings that may arise after the 2017 elections within the prescribed period in the constitution.

He successfully underwent the vetting board fending off accusations of tribalism and bribery seeking and was unanimously endorsed to continue to serve in 2012. An avowed Seventh Day Adventist, he startled the board proceedings when he invoked God’s name loudly and went on to swear that he had never taken a bribe in his life.

David Maraga Education Background

  1. Student at Kenya School of Law, post graduate diploma in Law
  2. Graduate student at the University of Nairobi, Masters of Law
  3. Graduate student at the university of Nairobi, Degree in Law

David Maraga Judicial Career

Justice Maraga joined the bench as a High Court Judge in October 2003 having been appointed by retired President Mwai Kibaki. He was elevated to the Court of Appeal in 2012 following an interview process by the Judicial Service Commission.

Since he was appointed to a judicial office before the 2010 Constitution of Kenya came into force, Justice Maraga went through the mandatory vetting by the Judges & Magistrates Vetting Board in 2012. The Vetting Board unanimously declared him fit to continue serving in office, though his vetting took a dramatic twist when he demanded a Bible and swore before the vetting panel that he had never taken a bribe in his judicial career and would never take bribes in future.

A year after joining the Court of Appeal, he vied for the position of President of the Court of Appeal, losing by a solitary vote to the current President, Justice Kihara Kariuki.

Justice Maraga was appointed by retired Chief Justice Willy Mutunga in May 2012 to chair the Kenya Judiciary Working Committee on Election Preparations (JWCEP) which was constituted in 2012 to ensure the Judiciary was fully prepared to deal in a timely manner, with any disputes that would arise from the March 2013 General Election.

As a result of the Committee’s work, the Judiciary is in position to deal with all election petitions within the strict statutory timelines. The Committee was thus reconstituted as the standing Judiciary Committee on Elections (JCE) in 2015, still under the Chairmanship of Justice Maraga.
In 2013, the President of Kenya named Justice Maraga as the Chair of a Tribunal which was constituted to investigate the conduct of High Court Judge Joseph Mutava after complaints emerged that the Judge had been compromised to deliver a judgment which cushioned Goldenberg suspect Kamlesh Pattni from prosecution over his involvement in the Goldenberg scandal

The Tribunal submitted a report in September 2016, recommending to the President that Justice Mutava be removed from office for improperly allocating himself the Kamlesh Pattni file when it did not fall under his docket, and proceeding to write a judgment in the case even though the Judicial Service Commission was investigating his conduct.

Before being appointed as the Chief Justice, David Maraga served as the Presiding Judge of the Court of Appeal in Kisumu. Prior to his appointment to the High Court of Kenya in 2003, he worked as lawyer in private practice for over 25 years.

Justice David Maraga Age

Justice David Maraga is 64 years old as of 2016

Justice David Maraga Family, Wife and Children

Details about Justice David Maraga Family, Wife and Children will be updated soon..

Judge David Maraga Religion

Judge David Maraga Refuses to Work on Sabbath

Court of appeals judge David Maraga told the Judicial Service Commission, which is responsible for nominating Supreme Court candidates to the president, that he would not enter the courtroom on Sabbath even in a presidential election dispute.

“It would be very difficult for me to sit on a Saturday to hear a case,” Maraga said in reply to a commission member’s query about a hypothetical situation, local media reported. “I would rather talk with my colleagues in the court to accommodate me and exempt me from sitting if the hearing extends to a Saturday.”

Identifying himself as a staunch Adventist, Maraga said his practice was to worship God in church on Saturdays.

“According to the judge, only a matter of life and death can make him miss church on Saturday — for instance, an accident happening on his way to church in which case he would stop to help the victims,” Kenya’s Standard newspaper reported Thursday in an article with the large headline, “I Will Not Compromise Church for Work, Says Judge.”

Justice David Maraga
Justice David Maraga

David Maraga Biography – 5 Things to Know About Justice David Maraga

Justice David Maraga will only serve one term

Justice Maraga is 64 years old. The Chief Justice position has an age limit of 70, meaning he will only serve one term and the commission will have to again interview applicants for his replacement.

His one term at the helm of the judiciary, if aproved, will match his predecessor Willy Mutunga who resigned before reaching 70 years

Justice David Maraga is going to be the 14th chief justice

Justice Maraga will be the 14th person to hold the office of the Chief Justice in post-independence Kenya. He will however be the second person to hold the office under the new constitution.

Justice David Maraga is a staunch Seventh Day Adventist

During his interview on August 31, Justice Maraga was categorical that he would not work on Saturday in line with his Sabbath Day Adventist faith. He said he cannot compromise church for work.

Justice David Maraga headed the tribunal that recommended the removal of Judge Joseph Mutava

Justice Maraga had on Wednesday presented a report to President Uhuru Kenyatta recommending for the removal of Judge Mutava for misconduct. This was after the tribunal he headed concluded its hearings and produced a full report.

Justice David Maraga describes himself as a good time manager

Justice Maraga says he used to apologise when court started late while working in Kisumu. He prides himself in being a decisive person of integrity and humility and a good time manager.He cited his record as the presiding judge of the Appellate Court in Kisumu from October 2014 to July 2016 where he made 1,250 judgments thereby clearing case backlogs.

Justice David Maraga News

Kenya’s top judge David Maraga guided by faith in God and law

Updated: 06.09.2017

Since Kenya’s Supreme Court decision to nullify the result of last month’s presidential election, Chief Justice David Maraga’s name has been on nearly every Kenyan’s lips — be it in joy or anger.

“He’s an African hero!” shouted 25-year-old Joseph Omullo the day the shock ruling was announced, trying to make himself heard over jubilant crowds in the teeming shantytown of Kibera in the capital Nairobi.

An old woman nearby wept and hollered while holding aloft a five-day-old newspaper, a picture of Maraga on its cover.

“This is the first time we’ve seen justice in Kenya.” one man cried out.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, who had been declared the poll winner over main rival Raila Odinga, was not so laudatory.

While saying he would abide by the ruling, Kenyatta slammed David Maraga and his fellow judges as “crooks” and said: “Maraga thinks he can overturn the will of the people. We shall show you”.

David Maraga Family – David Maraga Wife and Children

David Maraga, the 66-year-old chief justice of Kenya’s Supreme Court, has remained stoic amid the praise and the criticism.

A fervent Christian who is married and father of three children, he says he is guided by two things: his absolute faith in God and in the law.

“I am a God-fearing person who believes in, and endeavours to do, justice to all irrespective of their status in society,” Maraga wrote in his application to replace Willy Mutunga as chief justice in October 2016.

The Seventh-day Adventist vowed to serve humanity and Kenyans “in obedience to God’s command and will, and guided by the Constitution”.

David Maraga – An Honest Man

Born in the southwestern county of Nyamira, a few miles from Lake Victoria, David Maraga practised law for 25 years before being tapped as a High Court judge in Nakuru, about 160 kilometres (100 miles) northwest of Nairobi.

David Maraga later moved to the High Court in the Kenyan capital then to the appeal courts in Nairobi and Kisumu.

“He is an honest man, not pretending … deeply religious,” lawyer Tom Ojienda, who interviewed Maraga before his Supreme Court nomination, told AFP.

“He was the best (candidate),” Ojienda added, “because he had a history that demonstrated the concerns of a man who worked for society”.

David Maraga Annulled Presidential Results

When the Supreme Court invalidated the results of the August 8 presidential election, David Maraga declared Kenyatta’s victory “invalid, null and void”, pointing to widespread irregularities in the electronic transmission of vote results.

It was the first time a presidential election result was overturned in Africa.

In the majority 4-2 opinion — with one abstention — Maraga said the electoral commission (IEBC) “failed, neglected or refused to conduct the presidential election in a manner consistent with the dictates of the constitution”.

The court ordered a new vote be held within 60 days.

On Monday, the electoral commission said a new poll will take place on October 17.

“He had the courage to galvanise the other three judges…to take the decision to annul the election,” Ojienda said.

“David Maraga is a courageous man, an honest man, a special man”.

David Maraga An Independent Person

But even before the court’s September 1 ruling, the chief justice had shown signs of independence.

Following his nomination in 2016, Maraga said: “Corruption is a dark blot on the Judiciary”.

Earlier 2017, he hit back at Kenyatta when the president campaigned in Maraga’s native county to tell voters his government had given “their son” a job.

David Maraga slammed Kenyatta’s “false statements” and the Supreme Court said the remarks could be “misconstrued to imply a political hand in the appointment of the Chief Justice”.

“This is unfortunate, erroneous and substantially misleading,” the court statement said.

David Maraga Not Happy With Attack on Judiciary

Just before the elections, Maraga also said: “The emerging culture of public lynching of judges and judicial officers by the political class is a vile affront to the rule of law and must be fiercely resisted”.

Maraga, who cuts an athletic figure whether in robes or a suit, has been described as taciturn, but hides it well behind a perpetually amused and smiling expression.

As a practising Seventh-day Adventist, he does not work on Saturdays before sundown — a feat that has not seemed to hamper his judicial career or the legislative agenda.

In fact, Maraga held a hearing on the opposition’s legal election challenge on a Saturday at 7pm.

“Because of religion, he has a degree of morality that helped him make this decision,” Ojienda said.

Before announcing the court’s ruling, Maraga said: “An election is not an event, it is a process from the beginning to the end”.

Adopted from the Daily Nation

David Maraga: God’s will, passion for justice drive me

Updated: 03.09.2017

“In obedience to God’s Command and Will, and guided by the Constitution, to serve humanity, and Kenyans in particular, with dedication, honesty and integrity, striving at all times to uphold the rule of law and do justice to all.”

This was David Maraga’s objective when he presented his CV before the Judicial Service Commission interview panel a year ago for the post of Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court, which he now holds.

A staunch Seventh Day Adventist (SDA), the CJ has set a record as the first judge, with his other five colleagues, to nullify an election of a serving African Head of State. He was born on January 12, 1951, in present day Nyamira County.

Married with three children, David Maraga describes himself as an elder and one of the Bible-Study leaders of the SDA Church.

He set the record straight about his faith. “I am a God fearing person who believes in, and endeavours to do, justice to all irrespective of their status in society,” he said in his personal profile he presented to the JSC.

“I have a great passion for upholding the rule of law, which is an essential ingredient for social justice, political stability and economic development. I value people as a core resource and have had great pleasure and success in building teams towards effective justice delivery.”

David Maraga surprised many during the panel to vet judges and magistrates when he swore with a Bible that he had never taken a bribe in his life as a judge.


“Get me that Bible. In the name of God and the creator of the entire universe, I have never taken a bribe and I will never take a bribe,” he told a stunned Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board chairman Sharad Rao and his members.

The board was established by the Government as a result of the Vetting of Judges and Magistrates Act, 2011, which was passed by Parliament to create the necessary institutional framework and guidelines for the vetting of judges and magistrates.

In its determination dated 21st September 2012, the Rao -ed board unanimously dismissed all the complaints made against him.

“At his interview with the Board, the Judge made a confident, forceful and dignified impression. The Board received positive reports from the legal profession in the Rift Valley, who complimented the Judge on his punctuality, seriousness with which he approached cases, and his control of the courtroom,” read a report by the board.

As a senior legal professional with extensive experience in the Bar and on the Bench, and with a nascent but growing interest in academia, CJ Maraga was admitted to the Roll of Advocates 39 years ago, and has served as judge of Kenya’s two Superior Courts for over 14 years.

David Maraga holds a Master of Laws Degree (LLM) from the University of Nairobi; a Bachelor of Laws Degree (LLB) from the same University, and a Diploma in Legal Practice from the Kenya School of Law, leading to his admission onto the Roll of Advocates in October 1978.

David Maraga is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, London and the Law Society of Kenya.

Both in legal practice and on the Bench the CJ has made a significant contribution to local and international jurisprudence as demonstrated in the Anguka, Julie Ward, Choge and Mohammed Harshi Cases, among others detailed herein below.

“As at 2012, about twenty five (25) of my judgments had been reported by the National Council for Law Reporting and many more are pending publication,” he says.

Among the cases he has handled that have had a direct bearing on the rule of law include the Court of Appeal ruling on the Executive of Kisumua & Others v. Ann Atieno Adul & Others, CA Nos. 17 & 18 of 2015 (Consolidated). It was precedent setting constitutional authority on impeachment of County Assembly Speaker.

“This decision helped to minimise impeachment motions in County Assemblies.” In 2013, he nullified a case involving Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula and Musikari Kombo on grounds of bribery.

“In the D. Royal Media Services Ltd & Others vs Attorney General & Others, CA No.4 of 201, this decision helped to settle a major Constitutional Freedom of the Media Regional Terrestrial Broadcasting Digital Migration and Broadcasting Signal Distribution Licensing,” he writes in his personal profile.

David Maraga also handled an election petition filed involving Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho; HC Election Petition No. 1 of 2005—Hassan Joho vs Hotham Nyange & Others—Precedent setting on, inter alia, the standard of proof in Election Petitions. Besides his jurisprudence development, the CJ is also an author.

David Maraga authored a Chapter on “Scrutiny in Electoral Disputes: A Kenyan Judicial Perspective,” in the Book: ‘Balancing the Scales of Electoral Justice: Resolving Dispute from the 2013

Elections in Kenya and the Emerging Jurisprudence.’ Edited by Dr Collins Odote and Dr Linda Musumba; February 2016.

He has supported Moi Children’s Home since the 1980s and St Barnados Children’s Home, Nairobi since 1996.

Source: Daily Nation

Justice David Maraga – Affable lawyer who rose to be top judge

Updated: 02.09.2017

He seemed a man in charge early in the week when the opposing sides and their lawyers assembled at Kenya’s highest court for the start of the presidential petition.

Today, as the Supreme Court gave its decision in one of the most important and widely anticipated petitions in Kenya’s legal and political history, all eyes were on the affable 66-year-old Chief Justice David Kenani Maraga.

Today’s verdict was eagerly and anxiously awaited — the suspense merely heightened by the fact that nobody knew when exactly it would be handed down.

Together with the other six justices including Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu, Lady Justice Njoki Ndung’u, and justices Smokin Wanjala, Mohamed Khadhar Ibrahim, Jackton Boma Ojwang and Isaac Lenaola, he listened to four days of detailed legal argument made earlier in the week.

Known for his calm and confident manner in the court room, Justice Maraga will need all his equanimity as he, together with his team, delivers a verdict on a petition that has already attracted worldwide attention.

But Kenya’s 14th Chief Justice who hails from Bonyamatuta, Nyamira County, knows as much.

“From our history, I know that presidential elections are emotive and high pressure processes. If mismanaged at any stage (including determination of petitions arising therefrom), Presidential Elections can lead to instability in our country,” Justice Maraga highlighted this importance in 2015 when he presented a paper to the Parliamentary Justice and Legal Affairs Committee in Nairobi and Mombasa in 2015 urging them to amend Article 140(2) of the Constitution and extend the period for the determination of Presidential Election Petitions from 14 to 30 days to give the Supreme Court sufficient time to properly determine cases. This push was, however, unsuccessful.

In the latest petition, Justice Maraga has played a key role throughout the trial as the legal teams clashed and tore into each other. He – assisted by his colleagues on the Bench – demanded that lawyers maintain courtroom decorum, supervising the admission of evidence, ruling on requests by the lawyers and making decisions on how to proceed with firming up of law and evidence.

David Maraga – Stickler for order

But behind the veil of grace is a man of steely resolve as interviews with associates and a look into his past judgements gleaned by the Business Daily reveal.

“Justice David Maraga is a stickler for orderly proceedings. He is known for his strict fidelity to the law. He is a well learned and well-read judge…he is indeed a most noble judge as Shylock once quipped in the Merchant of Venice,” said Nairobi lawyer Evans Kaimenyi.

Those who know him spoke about his commitment to the rule of law albeit manifested with a firm gentleness.
“Justice Maraga is a quiet, sympathetic man with a steely resolve,” said an acquaintance who sought anonymity. “Throughout his legal career he has made a significant contribution to local and international jurisprudence without raising his voice.”

This view was cemented in 2012 by the Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board when it dismissed complaints made against him.

“At his interview with the Board, the judge made a confident, forceful and dignified impression. The Board received positive reports from the legal profession in the Rift Valley, who complimented the judge on his punctuality, seriousness with which he approached cases, and his control of the courtroom,” the Board would say of Justice Maraga.

Justice David Maraga was admitted to the Roll of Advocates in 1978, and has served as judge of Kenya’s two Superior Courts for about 13 years.

Before being appointed a judge of the High Court, he was a legal practitioner in private practice for 25 years, engaged in civil and criminal litigation as well as conveyancing matters.

Justice David Maraga holds a Master of Laws (LLM) Degree from the University of Nairobi; a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) Degree from the same institution and a Diploma in Legal Practice from the Kenya School of Law.

David Maraga – Strong advocate of judicial independence

A staunch Seventh Day Adventist, Justice David Maraga is said to be a strong advocate and defender of the importance of judicial independence – which observers say is increasingly important for Kenya’s democratisation.

In April this year he told off President Uhuru Kenyatta, noting that he was not a Jubilee government project.

Mr Maraga addressed the Head of State Uhuru through the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and also sent a personal statement saying the recruitment process for the position of Chief Justice had nothing to do with politics.

The President had during a visit to Nyamira County earlier in the month, asked residents to give him another term in office, arguing that his Government had given ‘their son’ a job, referring to the CJ who comes from the region.

Source: Business Daily

Judge David Maraga  – Video

Judge David Maraga Interview for Chief Justice Post

Source: Daily Nation

Court of Appeal Judge David Maraga on Wednesday said he will name a senior judge as the Judiciary ombudsman and revive the programme for helping the poor with court cases if appointed the new Chief Justice.

He told the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) that he would fast-track the implementation of the Legal Aid Act to ensure that justice is accessible to all.

“Kenyans seeking justice will not be locked out due to lack of money. I will seek funding for those seeking legal assistance but have no means to get a lawyer,” he told the interviewing panel at the Supreme Court Building in Nairobi.

According to the Legal Aid Act, Kenyans who can’t afford to hire an attorney, are entitled to one at the expense of the State.

Others entitled to a State lawyer are stateless people, children, refugees or trafficked persons.

In his first year in office, Judge Maraga said he would consult with the JSC and restructure the Judiciary ombudsman to be headed by a secretariat led by a senior judge.

He would also hire investigators to look into complaints against judges and magistrates with a view to helping to restore public confidence in the Judiciary.

The current Judiciary ombudsman is Mr Kennedy Bidali, a former magistrate, who rose to the post of registrar of the High Court before his appointment.

Justice Maraga said he would introduce an email address to receive public complaints on the conduct of judges, saying the use of suggestion boxes was outdated and ineffective.


Attorney-General Githu Muigai and Prof Tom Ojienda questioned him on his understanding of contentious, contradictory or grey areas in the Constitution.

Prof Ojienda: “What are your views on lesbians, homosexuals and intersex people?”

Judge David Maraga: “These are people, who have chosen that way of life. The law will deal with them as it is. The Constitution stipulates that marriage is between a man and a woman. It will depend on the issue at that time.”

Prof Ojienda: “Should the law be amended to accommodate intersexes?”

Judge David Maraga: “These are issues the society should sympathise with. They did not choose to be born that way. Anyone can give birth to such a child. Surely, will you kill them?”

AG Muigai: “When met with gaps in law, what law should we turn to? Is it Law of Contract, Children’s Act or the Constitution? For example in a three-way custody dispute between a surrogate mother and a couple who chose to have the child but have gone their separate ways?”

Judge David Maraga: “This ordinarily would be premised on contract, but you have to consider if it is legal or against public policy? You look at the issues and see how to resolve this, but the interests of the child remain supreme.”

AG Muigai: “When relatives of a patient in a vegetative state in hospital approach the court for guidance on who should switch off the life support machine, can the doctors switch it off?”

Judge David Maraga: “Doing so would be assisted suicide, which is a crime. The Constitution regards life as sacred and even using euthanasia is illegal.

The judge was also asked to explain the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and if it should hear election petitions other than the presidential petition.

He said the mandate of the Supreme Court should only be limited to presidential election petitions, while the Court of Appeal should be the final authority on other poll petitions.

JSC Picks David Maraga for Chief Justice Post

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has picked Court of Appeal Judge David Maraga for the post of Chief Justice.

“The JSC has after lengthy deliberations recommended Hon Mr Justice David Kenani Maraga for appointment as Chief Justice and has submitted the name to His Excellency the President,” a statement from JSC read.

President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to send Justice Maraga’s name to the National Assembly for approval.

During an interview with JSC, Justice Maraga had said that if appointed CJ he would name a senior judge as the Judiciary ombudsman and revive the programme for helping the poor with court cases.

He told the JSC that he would fast-track the implementation of the Legal Aid Act to ensure that justice is accessible to all.

He also said he would hire investigators to look into complaints against judges and magistrates with a view to helping to restore public confidence in the Judiciary.

Justice Maraga said he would introduce an email address to receive public complaints on the conduct of judges, saying the use of suggestion boxes was outdated and ineffective.

His name will now be forwarded to Parliament for vetting. If lawmakers endorse him, he will be formally appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Update: New Chief Justice David Maraga sworn in at State House

Source: Nation
Updated on: 19.02.2016

Justice David Maraga has been sworn in as the new Chief Justice, with President Uhuru Kenyatta asking him to forge better relations with the other arms of government.

President Kenyatta said good relations between the Judiciary, the Executive and the Legislature was important for a prosperous Kenya.

“Chief Justice, the best way to go about this is to tell each other the truth. Because if we do not tell each other the truth, we are lying to each other,” said President Kenyatta at State House.

The Head of State said Mr Maraga’s first task should be to clear the over 20,000 cases that have left people in remand, saying justice delayed was justice denied.

“Now, the biggest thing in courts is injunction. Stop this, stop that. Now, when people don’t get a contract they run to courts to get an injunction and stop works. I wish you (Judiciary) would be fast in the dispensation of Justice,” said President Kenyatta.

He said that while he did not oppose injunctions, he did not want the injunctions to stop the moving of the nation’s economy.


President Kenyatta referred to the more than 600 corruption cases that he said were dragging on in courts, which he said should be cleared.

“Bwana Chief Justice, why don’t you just concluded these cases and Kenyans will be happy,” said the President.

President Kenyatta said he was looking forward to a full Supreme Court Bench for the fast-tracking of the wheels of justice.

The new CJ said he was committed to the fight against graft.

“I will institutionalise the war against corruption to become part of the culture and strengthen the office of the Ombudsman,” said CJ Maraga.

Why David Maraga Was Appointed New Chief Justice

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has hinted at the key aspects it considered before settling on Justice David Maraga as the next Chief Justice (CJ).

Speaking to the media, Professor Tom Ojienda, one of the Commissioners listed at least five key qualifications that made Maraga stand out among the 10 other candidates.

According to Ojienda, JSC was looking for a candidate who had outstanding jurisprudence as well as best understanding and application of the law.

The Commission was also looking for an individual who had high levels of integrity and stood out among his peers.

Additionally, Prof. Ojienda said the Commission considered the candidate who had the best transformation agenda for the Judiciary.

More than that, Justice Maraga was appointed as he was considered best placed to get judicial staff to deliver and reduce the case backlog in most of the courts.

The interview panel was also searching for a candidate who had ambassadorial traits and can appropriately work with other arms of the government while still maintain the independence of the judiciary.

Commissioner Ojienda divulged that four other applicants also passed the qualification but Justice Maraga stood out among them.

He added that the decision to appoint Maraga was arrived at unanimously after he attained the highest score allocated by all panellists.

New Chief Justice David Maraga sworn in at State House
New Chief Justice David Maraga sworn in at State House