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Chief Justice David Maraga has for the first time opened up about his dark past and how his love for the bottle almost ruined his life.

Justice Maraga, known for his strong faith and strict adherence to the Seventh Day Adventist church beliefs, on Saturday said the decision to quit drinking from the first day of 1992 was the turning point in his life.

For about 30 years, Mr Maraga said, he moved from town to town every weekend accompanied by his friends, sampling what life had to offer.

“After I finished one week, I would be like, ‘Friends, where are we going this weekend?’ We would then either meet in Nakuru, Nairobi or Kisii and spend the entire weekend enjoying,” he said.

He made the revelations as he delivered a sermon at Nyambaria Boys High School in Nyamira County during the institution’s alumni service.

His testimony was aimed at encouraging the youth who face many temptations, including drug abuse.

The Supreme Court president said he discovered the value of sobriety much later in life, after years of partying, drinking alcohol and all the happy-go-lucky attitude of youth.

“Generally, I thought I was living well, enjoying life, drinking and all that. What bothered me every day was my inner battle to quit the bottle, one week after the other,” he said.

In September 2016 when he appeared before the Judicial Service Commission to be interviewed for his current position, Mr Maraga vowed never to compromise his religious beliefs to attend to work on a Saturday.

“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,” Justice Maraga, told the interviewing panel.


He said only a matter of life-and-death can make him miss church, for instance an accident happening on his way to church in which case he would stop to help the victims.

But his past was a sharp contrast. His drinking problem, he revealed, started when he joined Kisii School from Maranda High School.

“There was a hill near Kisii School where we would go to drink. I continued with this habit all through to the time I worked as an advocate. From 1963 to 1991, I was a different person,” he said.

In his sermon, which majored on having a purpose-driven life, the CJ described his earlier life as wasteful, directionless and hopeless.

Mr Maraga said while an advocate in Nakuru, he did not care about many things apart from providing necessities for his family.

“But something kept bothering me and I kept telling myself that I was not doing the right thing. Towards the end of 1991, I developed a strong urge encouraging me to go to church where my wife and our daughter, who was the only child then, were attending,” he said.

January 1, 1992 was the day he quit drinking and embraced Christianity.

“I made a decision to organise my life after having told myself that I was not born to live such a pathetic life. You are not just a statistic. God knows you as an individual. Be different. Stop being like the rest of the people in the world,” he told the congregation.​