Chief Justice David Maraga has finally responded to a public statement by President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nyamira that Maraga was among prominent leaders from the Gusii community given jobs by the Jubilee administration.
Given the circumstances, President Kenyatta was speaking as a politician seeking favour with the electorate in an election year. For him, the political mileage accruing from such a claim would be huge.
What he did not realise, however, was that his statement sent the wrong message to a lot of people, eventually putting the CJ in an awkward situation.
But while Maraga should have come out immediately to set the record straight, he waited until the public had developed a negative perception to act.
His belated denial to being a presidential appointee could help in putting to rest speculations that had been going around. With the separation of powers doctrine, the Judiciary must be seen to be independent of the Executive.
Considering that the Supreme Court would handle an election petition should one arise after the August 8, 2017 elections, the credibility of a ruling by a Supreme Court whose president is perceived to have gone to bed with the Executive would be highly questionable.
By itself, that could lead to a situation akin to the chaotic scenes that resulted in 1,300 deaths after the declaration of the 2007 election results. We can do without that.