by Ben Taylor
Former High Court Judge and first chairman of the National Electoral Commission, Judge Lewis Makame, died in Dar es Salaam on 18 August 2014. Born in Muheza District, Tanga, Judge Makame was a key figure among the country’s small group of intellectuals at independence. He had a BA from the University of London, and was a Barrister in the UK. In Tanzania, he served as a High Court Judge and a Justice of Appeals, before taking up the high profile post of chairman of the National Electoral Commission in 1993, just as Tanzania made the shift to multi-party democracy.
In this role, Judge Makame had a no-nonsense approach to issues that earned the wrath of a section of the opposition, some of whom accused him of being part of a ‘’grand plot’’ to enable CCM to retain its grip on power. Nevertheless, he remained a widely respected figure, known for his composed, calm manner, commitment to duty, and fierce intellect. He stepped down as NEC chairman in 2011. President Kikwete said that Justice Makame’s leadership had contributed tremendously to strengthen peace, harmony, unity and solidarity in the country.
Major General Herman Lupogo died on 18 October 2014, aged 76, at Lugalo Military Hospital, Dar es Salaam, where he was receiving medical treatment.
He served in Tanzania People’s Defence Force for 28 years, from 1965 until he retired in 1992. Following his retirement from the army, he became a highly respected administrator, serving as Regional Commissioner for Iringa, Director General of Arusha International Conference Centre, Chairman of the Tanzania Commission for HIV/AIDS (TACAIDS) and Board Chairman of the Benjamin Mkapa Foundation.
Major General Lupogo will be remembered warmly by all who knew him. With a sharp wit, ability to recall decades-old anecdotes in rich detail, and love of English literature and Scottish single malt whisky, he was a truly memorable character.
Epidemiologist, researcher and expert in HIV and genitourinary medicine, Dr Gilly Arthur, has died aged 47 of a brain tumour. Gilly was born and brought up in Derbyshire as the youngest of six children. Her research on HIV in Zimbabwe, while studying medicine at Nottingham University, inspired a lifelong commitment to working in Africa. After spells in Nairobi and at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, she moved with her husband Stevan and their two children to Tanzania in 2007, to take up the post of science chief for the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
A hugely respected doctor and researcher, Gilly provided emergency medical assistance after the US Embassy bombings in 1998 and when the MV Spice Islander sank off the Zanzibar coast in 2011. She is survived by her husband, Stevan, their children Stan and Joni, her mother and siblings.
The untimely death of model, shoe designer and leading light of Tanzanian social media, Betty Ndejembi, is a thoroughly modern tragedy. Aged just 24 at the time of her death in August 2014, Betty had made a name for herself online, primarily on Twitter, using social media to market her shoes.
But the source of her fame and her livelihood was turned against her when she became a victim of cyber-bullying, with an anonymous crowd attacking her on twitter, threatening her and accusing her of all manner of sins. In her final days, her online posting became increasingly frantic, desperate and despairing. Her unconscious body was discovered in a ditch, with reports that she had been sexually assaulted.