Chief Justice David Kenani Maraga, Photo courtesy
By Donald Kipkorir
Open Letter To Hon. Justice George Odunga
Machakos Law Courts.
As you begin work today as the Presiding Judge for Machakos High Court, I want it recorded that am amongst those who hold you in the highest esteem. Human beings have weakness of praising the dead, but vilifying the living. We only praise Political leaders when alive even if we hate them. For me, being comfortable in my skin, I praise and criticize without equivocation.
Those who vilify you, do so out of extreme ignorance. Some out of pure dislike because of your name. They think you make decisions because of where you come from. What a tragedy.
If our leaders were humble enough to understand the Constitution, they would know the role of a Judge in Judicial Review Division. A Minister yesterday went off tangent speaking too many English abusing you, but his three hours soliloquy was a study in public display of ignorance. If only the Minister and his hecklers would know that the role of Judicial Review Court is to censure the Government, State Institutions and State Officers from abuse of power. But then, they don’t know and they think they know.
Racial segregation, gender inequality, slavery, unequal pay and right to vote for all, Only came about because daring Judges in Justices John Marshall, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Earl Warren and Thurgood Marshall stood up and exercised their Judicial Review powers against the law of the time. If they didn’t stand up, a black man would still be considered 1/3 person. If they didn’t stand up, women wouldn’t still be allowed to vote. They stood up against the political leaders of those times that suffered from hubris.
When the Chapter Of our Judicial History is written, your personal contribution to our jurisprudence will occupy many pages. Later on in Time, when Kenya would have transcended tribalism, Corruption and political hubris, Kenya will remember that you contributed so much.
For now, as you settle down in Machakos, carry the same spirit and the same erudite legal mind. Without hurting other Judges, I daresay few match your legal brilliance. As William Shakespeare said:
Therein, ye gods, you make the weak most strong;
Therein, ye gods, you tyrants do defeat;
Nor stony tower, nor walls of beaten brass,
Nor airless dungeons, nor strong links of iron,
Can be retentive to the strength of the spirit,
But life, bring wary of these worldly bars,
Never lacks power to dismiss itself.
Julius Cæsar, Act 1, Scene 3
Fare Thee Well. Fare Thee Well My Lord.