Kenya’s Court of Appeal confirms March 04 election date

Kenyas Court of Appeal yesterday upheld an earlier ruling by the High Court and affirmed, that the next general and presidential elections will indeed now be held on the 04th of March 2013.
The election date has long been speculative but the judges, inspite of one dissenting opinion from a member of the 5 judges bench, felt that the date is legal and falls within the prescribed period of holding elections within 60 days after the term of the current parliament expires on 14th January next year.
There was immediate relief from in particular the tourism industry, which has for long advocated that the traditional end December polling dates be shifted to let the peak holiday season of Christmas and New Year pass without the political tension elections inevitable brought in the past to East Africas largest economy.
At least any possibility of disturbing our peak season with December polls is now out for good. The country can now prepare for elections and get ready with the logistics. It will also give the tourism industry time to prepare, and tourists not need worry about coming to Kenya during the high season. True, as you point out the date now confirmed with somehow clash with the run up to Easter next year which is at the end of March, but at least now the uncertainty is over. What tourism is now expecting is our politicians to be mature and refrain from anything which could bring back the scenes of early 2008. So besides our electoral commission we demand that our security organs prepare to prevent any violence instigated by election losers as we saw in early 2008, which threw the country into chaos and ruined the tourism industry. Our partners abroad should be assured that safety and security of tourists are our top priority in Kenya and our sector will play a crucial consulting role with public officials and security organs to make sure that this will remain so commented a regular source from the Kenya coast, which depends on substantially on tourism.
While the matter could still be referred to the Supreme Court of Kenya, the time limitations to convene a full bench and hear such a final appeal may ultimately not permit a different outcome as the logistical preparations for elections are now and have been geared towards a March 2013 election date and it may be physically impossible to have the voters registers updated and published and election materials procured and ready for any date much before the now confirmed date of 04th of March next year.
From this correspondent it is therefore best wishes to our Kenyan brothers and sisters towards a peaceful run up to the general and presidential elections next year and a mature and responsible conduct by all concerned.

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