Why Supreme Court judges will today work the night shift
Supreme Court judges will work Saturday from 7pm when the hearing of Raila Odinga’s petition against the election of President Uhuru Kenyatta kicks off.
The first phase of the petition ended Friday evening with the submission by each of the three parties – Mr Odinga, President Kenyatta and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission – of their written submissions, their arguments in writing.
The second phase begins at 7pm Saturday at the pre-trial conference.
Court proceedings will start late because Chief Justice David Maraga, an Adventist, will be observing the Sabbath.
While appearing before the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) for the interview for the position of the Chief Justice, Mr Maraga had vowed never to compromise his religious beliefs to attend to work on a Saturday if he is appointed Chief Justice.
“It would be very difficult for me to sit on a Saturday to hear a case. 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,” Mr Maraga told the JSC during the interview in September last year.
The then Court of Appeal Judge, who described himself as a staunch SDA member, went on to say that only a matter of life and death can make him miss church on Saturday, and cited an accident happening on his way to church in which case he would stop to help the victims.
Mr Maraga’s declaration has come to pass. The country is in the heat of another presidential petition, and this Saturday being the eighth day after Mr Odinga filed the petition at the Supreme Court, the law requires that the court holds a pre-trial hearing with all the parties to the petition to forge the way ahead.
Ordinarily the pre-conference would have been held in the morning but the notice from the Supreme Court dispatched to the parties shows the hearing will start after 7pm Saturday evening.
In the tradition of the Seventh Day Adventist church, the day of the Sabbath will have ended.
According to the www.adventist.org, which is the official site of the SDA church worldwide, the Sabbath starts at the end of the sixth day of the week and ends at the sunset of the seventh day of the week.
“This time coincides with the time of sunset. Wherever a clear delineation of the time of sunset is difficult to ascertain, the Sabbath keeper will begin the Sabbath at the end of the day as marked by the diminishing light,” the site states.
In other words, Sabbath starts from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday.
“In this age of materialism, the Sabbath points men and women to the spiritual and to the personal. The consequences for forgetting the Sabbath day to keep it holy are serious. It will lead to the distortion and eventual destruction of a person’s relationship with God,” the site states.
The site further observes that the law forbids secular labour on the rest day of the Lord.
“The toil that gains a livelihood must cease; no labour for worldly pleasure or profit is lawful upon that day; but as God ceased His labour of creating, and rested upon the Sabbath and blessed it, so man is to leave the occupations of his daily life, and devote those sacred hours to healthful rest, to worship, and to holy deeds,” the site states.