Arusha. Former anti-graft Tzar Edward Hosea is the new President of the Tanganyika Law Society (TLS).
He was elected to head the premier bar association in the country in one of the closely contested elections in recent years. Dr Hosea, a former director general of the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB), garnered 297 votes.
His closest challenger, Flaviana Charles, obtained 223 votes - and was closely followed by Mr Shehzada Walii (192 votes).
The voting, at the Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC), was preceded by the Society’s annual general meeting on Thursday.
According to the current TLS Constitution, its President serves for a year, non-renewable term during which he or she is expected to steer the Society to improve the rule of law principle. Dr Hosea takes over from Dr Rugemelezi Nshala, an environmental lawyer who is the immediate-past TLS President. A veteran Arusha-based lawyer, Albert Msando - who was expected to pose a challenge to the other candidates - emerged fourth with 69 votes.
But it was a former TLS President, Francis Stola, who performed most poorly: fifth in the placings, with a mere 17 votes.
Dr Hosea, who exited PCCB in December 2015 after the coming into power by the fifth phase government, is no stranger to legal advocacy. As the PCCB boss, he was elected to the boards of various anti-corruption bodies in Africa and (British) Commonwealth countries.
Only a decade ago, he was chairman of the Arusha-based African Union Advisory Board on Corruption.
He also served as the president of anti-graft agencies in the Commonwealth countries (Africa), and the Southern Africa Development Community bloc (Sadc).
In his pre-election media briefs, the soft-spoken lawyer was categorical that he would not waver in advocating the rule of law. He also promised to strive to improve relations between the Society and the government which often get sour.
Relations between the two sides had not been rosy for years. But they got worse in 2017 with the election of Tundu Lissu as TLS President. By then, Mr. Lissu was the MP for Singida East on the opposition Chadema ticket. Later in the same year, he survived an assassination attempt.
Dr. Hosea said that, with his election as the TLS chief, he would take the opportunity to address the challenges facing the legal sector in the country.
These, according to him, include seeking reduction of membership fees from Sh. 600,000 to Sh. 400,000.
He also promised to work with other legal platforms in the country to fight what he described as “repressive laws” as well as introduce insurance cover to TLS members.
He has repeatedly denied that he was fired by the late President John Pombe Magufuli during the latter’s purge upon taking over power in November 2015.
After his election, he said TLS would not budge for its fight for the rule of law and that this would include a free judiciary.