Seventh-day Adventist Chief Justice David Maraga became president of the Supreme Court of Kenya in October 2016. But even before taking over, he was forced into the spotlight.
During his confirmation hearings that year, Maraga told the Judicial Service Commission that if elected, he would not hear a hypothetical case on Saturdays, the seventh-day Sabbath. “It would be very difficult for me to sit on a Saturday to hear a case,” Maraga told the commission responsible for nominating Supreme Court candidates to the president. “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.”
Maraga had an opportunity of putting his convictions into practice after the August 8, 2017, national elections in Kenya were contested. The first hearing of the case had been scheduled during day hours of Saturday, August 26. At his request, however, the hearing was postponed until 7:00 p.m., to accommodate for the top judge’s beliefs.
Since then Kenyan political analysts have highlighted Maraga’s reputation as a person of integrity, which they attribute to his being a devout Seventh-day Adventist.
“The greatness of a nation relies on its fidelity to the constitution and adherence to the rule of law,” Maraga says.