Vote Of Thanks Speech By The Hon. Lady Justice N. Baraza Deputy Chief Justice
August 12, 2011
VOTE OF THANKS SPEECH BY THE HON. LADY JUSTICE N. BARAZA DEPUTY CHIEF JUSTICE/VICE PRESIDENT, SUPREME COURT OF KENYA, ON THE OCCASION OF A FAREWELL LUNCHEON HELD IN HONOR OF MR. JUSTICE (RTD.) J.E. GICHERU, E.G.H., THE IMMEDIATE FORMER CHIEF JUSTICE AND CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR LAW REPORTING, ON AUGUST 5, 2011 IN NAIROBI
My Lord The Chief Justice, Dr. Willy Mutunga; our guest of honor this afternoon, (Rtd.) Justice Johnson Evan Gicheru; retired Justices Abdul Majid Cockar and A.B. Shah; our other distinguished guests, Members of the Board and also the Staff of the National Council for Law Reporting, ladies and gentlemen:
I have the honor of giving the closing remarks and offering a brief vote of thanks on this very important occasion, when we have not only been honored to have (Rtd.) Justice Johnson Gicheru as our guest of honor, but we have also shared words of goodwill and best wishes, shared some laughter and of course shared a hearty meal.
I consider it a great honour for me to have the opportunity to stand here to not only give a vote of thanks to all of us for coming together to honor Judge Gicheru, but more importantly to discharge a national burden of gratitude owed to him by 40 million Kenyans, including ourselves, for having served the Judiciary and our country selflessly, diligently, and for such a long period of time.
From his appointment as a Judge of the High Court in 1982, to his appointment as a Judge of Appeal only six years later, then to his appointment as the Chief Justice in February 2003 where he served until his retirement in February of this year, Justice Gicheru’s reputation as a beacon of judicial wisdom and integrity has been common knowledge to the legal fraternity.
All of us will remember him for his firm and judicious Chairing of the 1990 Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Disappearance and Death of the then Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Robert Ouko; for the courage and resolve that he demonstrated when not long after his appointment as Chief Justice, he steered the Judiciary through a process of reforms on a scale not previously witnessed elsewhere in the Commonwealth; for the numerous judicial opinions through which he has made substantial contributions to the development of Kenya’s jurisprudence and last but not least, for his gentle and calm disposition. We will all fondly remember Judge Gicheru for many reasons. More pertinently for today’s event, we will remember him as the longest serving Chairman yet of the Board of the National Council for Law Reporting.
It is for all these things, and the many other things that are now preserved as the fond memories in the hearts and minds of other members of the Judicial and legal fraternity and other citizens that I want to say thank you to you, Judge Gicheru:
- You inspired our faith in justice and the rule of law even during the several occasions when this faith was tested by the social upheavals that are part of our country’s social and political evolution;
- You held high the candle of hope and shone the light of optimism in moments when the winds of criticism and the darkness of despair loomed large over our justice system;
- As the arbiter of disputes between citizens and the refuge for persons seeking redress for wrongs committed against them by others, you restored justice where there was wrong, meted out punishment and pardon according to the law where they were deserved and extended the hand of compassion and leniency where there was contrition;
- You kept alive the efforts of your predecessors to secure for our country an established system of official law reporting that came from two decades of arrears to establish itself as the internationally acclaimed institution that the National Council for Law Reporting is today;
- And your faith in God and your devotion in continuously learning and practicing your faith reminded us of the calling to live not for the gratification of ourselves but for the gratification of the spirit and the soul.
- For serving Kenya selflessly and tirelessly for three decades as a judicial officer, we thank you.
- For standing as beacon of judicial wisdom and integrity, we thank you.
- For your outstanding contribution to improving access to justice, the development of Kenyan jurisprudence and the establishment of official law reporting, we will remain eternally grateful.
Our wish for you is that you will have a retirement filled with more laughs, fun and adventure and balanced with the peace and serenity that so constantly eludes those of us who cannot get away from our professional and social engagements.
Finally, thank you to The Hon. The Chief Justice and the Board of the National Council for Law Reporting for the idea of this event; to Mr. Murungi and the Management and staff of the Council for organizing it, and to all our guests for not only honoring our invitation but also for the support and friendship that you continue to give us.
Whatever your plans may be for the rest of the day and for the weekend, I wish you all success, joy and happiness.