Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

Tanzania: EALS Calls for Peaceful Kenyan Polls

Arusha — THE Arusha-based East Africa Law Society (EALS) has issued a press statement calling for calm, inclusiveness and tolerance amongst all actors in the forthcoming Kenyan General Election.

The statement was signed here by the EALS President, Mr James Aggrey Mwamu and addressed to the President of Kenya, Mr Mwai Kibaki, his Prime Minister, Mr Raila Odinga and the Chairperson of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission of Kenya as well as all duly nominated candidates.

In the statement, the EALS commends the Government of Kenya for the institutional and constitutional progress since 2007, aimed at ensuring inclusive, participatory and transparent elections in Kenya. It, however, cautions that a number of incidents in the period leading up to the election could have effect or purpose of numbing the yields that could otherwise accrue from these constitutional and institutional reforms.

The incidents highlighted include pockets of insecurity, destruction of property and loss of life within Nairobi and other parts of Kenya; as well as recent attempts to intimidate the judiciary in the person of the country's Chief Justice Judge Willy Mutunga.

According to the statement, there were also attempts by the Executive and Immigration Officers to prohibit the Chief Justice from travelling on official duty purportedly because he did not have prior clearance from the Cabinet Secretary. The statement continues to call on the various actors in the upcoming election process to ensure a peaceful and inclusive atmosphere to enable Kenyans exercise their civic duties and bring to book any persons or elements that are engaged in threatening or committing acts of violence.

The statement further calls on all candidates in the election to seek judicial redress in the event that they are not satisfied with the results as announced by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission. It also calls on the media to ensure accurate, impartial and objective coverage of the election process.

"The EALS intends to follow up on this statement by commissioning an observation team that will be on the ground in Kenya before, during and after the elections," maintained the EALS statement. Based in Arusha (Tanzania), the EALS is the apex regional Bar Association of East Africa jointly founded in 1995 in Tanzania and presently has a fully-fledged multi-national secretariat located in Arusha.

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