by Ben Taylor
Prominent Tanzanian business leader, Subhash Patel, died in Dar es Salaam in December, at the age of 62.
Mr Patel was the founder and managing director of Motisun Group, which is a multimillion-dollar business, which is among the leading manufacturers in Tanzania. Among other things, the group of companies runs one of the finest hotel and resort chains in Tanzania under the Sea Cliff and White Sands brand names.
He started his entrepreneurial life as a shopkeeper in his father’s shop and later on as a trader selling spices, gradually moved into the automobile business and later into manufacturing. He went on to build a business empire ranging from manufacturing of steel sheeting and pipes, rubber, paint and fizzy drinks.
Until his passing, Subhash was the chairman of the Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) and board member of the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF), the umbrella body of the private sector. He was also a religious leader who often led prayers at his local Hindu temple in Dar es Salaam.
“I offer my sincere condolences to family members, relatives and all those who have been touched by his death. The nation has lost one of its patriots, may God rest his soul in eternal peace, Amen,” said Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa.
The former minister for Constitutional and Legal Affairs in Zanzibar, Mr Abubakar Khamis Bakar, died in November at the age of 69.
Mr Bakar placed a prominent role in union government politics in the year 2014 when he was a member of the Constituent Assembly (CA). He did not mince his words in voting against the proposed two-tier system favoured by the then President Kikwete, despite being a cabinet minister. The decision later cost him his cabinet job in the Zanzibar government under President Ali Mohamed Shein.
Born in 1951 in Pemba, Mr Bakar achieved his primary and secondary education in the Isles before joining the University of Dar es Salaam for a law degree. He later pursued a Master’s degree in law at the West Indies University. He worked in all three pillars of state: as minister in the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar (RGZ), deputy Chief Justice and Attorney General and representative in the House of Representative.
He served as a member of the Afro-Shiraz Party (ASP) and CCM, but later, he decamped to CUF and became member of the executive committee. Following the post-2015 political wrangles within CUF, Mr Bakar was among those who decamped to ACT-Wazalendo, where he served on the party’s executive committee.
The ACT-Wazalendo vice chairman for Zanzibar Juma Duni Haji said that Mr Bakar will be remembered for his role in writing constitutions of Zanzibar and that of the United Republic.
A political science lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam, Prof Bakari Mohamed, said the deceased has left a huge legacy through the 1984 constitution that provided the Isles with principles of political and economic development of Zanzibar. “He successfully served the CCM government and the opposition CUF as head of legal issues hence greatly benefiting Zanzibar and Tanzania at large,” he said.