His Excellency Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, Former President of the United Republic of Tanzania
Honourable Judges of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights
Walking is generally associated with health, fitness, and wellbeing. That is proper because the body is put to exercise, which causes blood to circulate; and both the body and brain to reboot and regenerate.
However, walking has also been used for advocacy purposes; and it may be argued that advocacy walks serve just the same purpose as fitness and wellbeing walks although the aim is to express or regenerate commitment rather than the body. This explains why walks are, as we all know, associated with leadership.
From Martin Luther Kind to Nelson Mandela, walks have become the most emblematic tool for celebration, commitment, advocacy, and in the case of this morning, renewal of commitment to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. In this respect, I find it important to pay tribute to an African leader from Tanzania who played a critical role in the operationalisation of the African Court.
As some of you may be aware, His Excellency Jakaya Kikwete, Former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, played an important part in the functioning of the Court as it was under his leadership that Tanzania offered to host the Court and provide it with the necessary logistical facilities to operate from the city of Arusha. This deserves a vibrant tribute and as Africans we must learn to celebrate great African leaders at the right time, and in the right place. Your Excellency President Kikwete, on behalf of the African Court and on my own behalf, I extend to you our appreciation for supporting the human rights justice project manifested through the African Court.
Distinguished delegates, I equally extend the Court’s appreciation to you for agreeing to join today’s walk to express commitment to the work of the African Court. I invite you to take to your respective countries and institutions the pledge that you took here today by being part of this 15th anniversary walk; the pledge to justice, the rule of law, democracy and freedoms.
I wish you all a good continuation of proceedings and deliberations.
Thank you again, asanteni sana