Kikwete calls for free, fair elections President Kibaki (left) and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete (centre) have pledged to support the East African Community Common Market Protocol. President Kikwete had paid President Kibaki a courtesy call at State House, Nairobi, Tuesday. By Peter Opiyo Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete has called on East African Community States to embrace free and fair elections to ensure smooth integration. Mr Kikwete also cautioned against inflammatory utterances that may jeopardise the success of the decade-old community, noting such actions contributed to the collapse of the community in 1977. While addressing the third session of the East African Legislative Assembly MPs at Parliament Buildings, Nairobi, Kikwete pointed out that the region has an opportunity to show to the world that democracy is taking root. East African Legislative Assembly Speaker Abdirahim Abdi presided over the session. "Partly this (violence) is precipitated by flaws in management of the electoral processes - but, also because some people are yet to embrace the culture of accepting defeat and acknowledging winners," Kikwete told the EALA MPs. Kenya is holding a constitutional plebiscite in two months while in the coming ten months Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda would be holding elections. Armed terror "Kenya will be holding a constitutional referendum and so will Tanzania, Zanzibar…We have an opportunity to demonstrate to the entire world and to our own people that democracy reigns and democratic values are taking root in our community," said Kikwete. Speaker Kenneth Marende said the region should reap from the benefits of having a single security network. "We are apt to consign history to destabilisation by rebel groups, armed by terror organisations attempting to illegally impose their will upon the East African people," said Marende, who also addressed the MPs. He called on the MPs to legislate laws that would actualise the use of Lake Victoria and establish a political federation. "We have no business getting on the verge of near war over Migingo Island or other similar misadventure instead of expending our energies on the bigger picture, for example, putting more fish in the lake enough for all of us," said Marende. Separately President Kibaki and Kikwete promised to support a new treaty ratified by East African Community States. Mutual benefits The two leaders welcomed the monumental developments taking place in the East African Community and pledged their full support for the East Africa Community Common Market Protocol that comes into force on July 1. President Kibaki said the protocol, which has been ratified by member States, will facilitate free flow of goods and people and enhance trade for mutual benefits of the people in the region. The President said implementation of the protocol would attract more investors for the people to reap the benefits of increased market access. He said the two countries will remain proactive in exploring new frontiers for co-operation to further strengthen the vibrant trade relations between the two countries. The President also welcomed recent developments in the energy sector, which he said facilitated the launch of the master plan to build interconnectivity of power systems between Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia and eventually the entire region. Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetang'ula, Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura and Kenyan High Commissioner to Tanzania Mutinda Mutiso among others were present. Tanzanian Minister for East Africa Diodorus Kamala and High Commissioner to Kenya Nyasura Kadege accompanied President Kikwete. The Standard | Online Edition :: Kikwete calls for free, fair elections My Take: Nina maswali mawili wakuu:Kwanza, Je kuna referendum inakuja Bongo ama huyu muungwana kadanganya wazi hapo kwenye mkutano? Pili, Hii ishu ya kujiunga na EAC naonelea kama ni foregone conclusion by the powers that be without regards to the opinions of a majority of Tanzanians who I believe are against it. Where do we stand and how can this marriage be forced upon us ?