1 December 2012

Tanzania: Law Society Expresses Concern Over Kenya's Violence

Arusha — THE Arusha-based, East African Law Society (EALS) has expressed concern over state of unrest in Nairobi as well as other towns in Kenya.

The EALS President, Mr James Mwamu has stated here that the regional law society has noted with concern the growing instances of insecurity, destruction of property and loss of lives in Nairobi, Mombasa and other parts of Kenya.

The Law Society's statement pointed out the spate of unsolved political assassinations in Mombasa and Kisumu that have nurtured violent protests, including the unfortunate grenade attack on a police lorry in Mombasa that claimed the lives of four policemen who were trying to restore calm during the protests.

"Instances of political and racially motivated riots and social unrest in Nairobi, occasioned by low levels of public confidence in the ability of the government to protect them," maintained Mr Mwamu.

Other incidents as far as EALS is concerned, are tribal conflicts around the Tana Delta in the Coast Region of Kenya that claimed the lives of at least 50 people last month, and the further escalation of tribal tensions in the region that has now become a powder keg for bloodshed and violence.

The regional law body has also spoken against the brutal murder of 42 policemen gunned down in an ambush at Baragoi in the Rift Valley, by what are believed to be cattle rustlers and bandits.

EALS' highlighted the grenade attack on a commuter bus in the mainly Somali District of Eastleigh Estate in Nairobi last week that left eight commuters dead and scores of others injured and the murder of four Kenya Defence Forces officers in Garissa, and the corresponding retaliatory attack by their colleagues.

"All of those point to a disturbing pattern of willful attacks and murder of unarmed citizens, police and security forces; and possibly the inability of the state to rein in those responsible and restore calm and public confidence not only amongst Kenyan citizens but also to the wider East African region," the statement underlined.

"While EALS is aware of the fact that most of these attacks are of a cowardly, guerilla or unconventional nature, making it difficult, although not impossible, for the security forces within the country to comprehensively address, we are further alarmed that these attacks are coming at the eve of the March 2013 General Elections in Kenya and could undermine the possibility of the elections being free, fair and violence free.

"The EALS notes that, any further perceived breakdown in law and order in Kenya is bound to occasion adverse ripple effects as Kenya remains the main commercial lifeline of the East African Region, transiting the issue from that of a national one to one of regional concern," concluded the EALS statement, calling upon the Government of the Republic of Kenya to institute measures to curb the growing concern.

Based in Arusha (Tanzania), the East Africa Law Society (EALS) is the premier regional Bar Association of East Africa founded in 1995. It is dual membership organization bringing together over ten thousand individual lawyer members as well as the six national Bar Associations namely; Burundi Bar Association, Kigali Bar Association, Law Society of Kenya, Tanganyika Law Society, Uganda Law Society and Zanzibar Law Society.

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