South Nyanza lawyers have described departing Chief Justice David Maraga as a hero who helped reduce graft in the courts.
They also praised his independence and said he expanded the Judiciary and reduced the backlog of cases.
Maraga has gone on terminal leave and the battle to replace him is underway.
Law Society of Kenya regional chairman Wilkins Ochoki told the Star on Sunday Maraga’s tenure was good owing to his zeal.
He said LSK hoped for a successor who equals to the task and could help the Judiciary address emerging issues.
“Under Maraga, the case backlog went down by 90 per cent. There were more than 300,000 cases dragging on but they have been reduced,” he said.
He praised Maraga’s achievements in a difficult environment with an unfriendly relationship with the Executive.
Marago also championed the fight against corruption, he said.
Ochoki noted President Uhuru Kenyatta still has not appointed additional magistrates and judges as required.
The Maraga-led court in 2017 overturned the President’s reelection, angering Uhuru who promised to revisit the issue and deal with “wakora”.
The court ordered a rerun.
“That ruling [nullifying the election] may not have appealed to other people, but to us, it reinforced that independence that should mark judiciaries across the world,” Ochoki said.
The LSK chairman said they are looking forward to a new chief justice who is also independent-minded.
He said the independence of the Judiciary should not affect the relationship between the three arms of the government.
“I agree there should be harmony and cooperation but not to a point where the independence of the Judiciary is questioned,” Ochoki said.
Lawyer Dennis Nyatundo said Maraga’s tenure fostered integrity.
He said the introduction of e-filing and virtual hearing of cases played a big role in reducing the backlog of cases.
Edited by Kiilu Damaris