by Ben Taylor
Former Finance Minister, Basil Mramba died at the age of 81 on Tuesday August, 2021 at Regency Hospital in Dar es Salaam while undergoing treatment. The family said he had been admitted at the facility with Covid-19 complications.
Basil Mramba was born in May 15, 1940, and was MP for Rombo constituency in Kilimanjaro region. He served in various position in the government including Mbeya Regional Commissioner (1995-2000), Minister of Finance (2001-2005) and Minister of Trade and Industry (2006-2008).
In July 2015, Mramba alongside former energy minister Daniel Yona was sentenced to three years in jail after being convicted of 11 counts of abuse of office and causing a TSh 11.7 billion loss to the government. They were released after serving six months and ordered to do community services while serving a suspended sentence for the remaining two years of their jail term.
In his time as Finance Minister under President Mkapa, Tanzania was undertaking major economic reforms aimed at transforming the country from a state-controlled economy to a private sector-led one. He played a key role in talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank that eventually saw Tanzania being granted debt relief of $3 billion, reducing the country’s total external debt by 54%, and reducing the amount to be paid as interest on the loans.
Former Presidential candidate and Kilimanjaro Regional Commissioner, Anna Mghwira, has died at the age of 62. Ms Mghwira was appointed as Kilimanjaro RC by the late President John Magufuli on June 03, 2017. Before that she had been the ACT-Wazalendo presidential candidate in the 2015 General Election.
Anna Mghwira was born in Singida. Her father was a councillor representing TANU. After attending Nyerere Primary School, Ihanja Secondary School and the Lutheran Seminary, she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Tumaini University and a Law Degree from the University of Dar es Salaam. Her studies then took her to the UK, where she attained a Master’s Degree in Law (LLM) from the University of Essex in 2000. She then worked for various local and international organisations dealing with women’s empowerment, community development and refugees.
Her political journey started during the TANU era, when she was a member of the party’s youth league. But she reduced her participation in politics in the late 1970s to focus on her education, career and family.
She returned to active politics in 2009, joining Chadema, where she held various junior leadership positions. In March, 2015, she left Chadema for the newly formed ACT-Wazalendo, where she was later nominated the party’s national chairwoman during the party’s first general congress. Later that year she ran for President of Tanzania, representing ACT, achieving just 1% of the vote, despite attracting considerable support from the country’s intelligentsia.
Two years later she was appointed Kilimanjaro RC by President Magufuli, a role in which she served until her retirement earlier this year. Her appointment surprised both opposition supporters and many ruling party members as she was still chair of ACT-Wazalendo at the time.
President Hassan issued a statements saying that Ms Mghwira had played a great role in the country’s development.
“I am saddened by the passing of the former Kilimanjaro Regional Commissioner Anna Mghwira. I will remember her for her great contributions in the building of the country,” she said.
Sigvard von Sicard 1930-2021 was a Swedish Lutheran pastor and theologian whose special interest was in improving relationships between Christians and Muslims. In 1957 he became pastor at Maneromanga, about 50 miles South West of Dar es Salaam, beyond Kisarawe, in those days very remote and hard to get to. His wife Judith gives dramatic descriptions of what life was like in her book Beyond the Narrows: Cultural Reflections from My Missionary Life (2013).
In 1966, Sigvard joined the staff of Makumira theological college (now university) near Moshi, and in 1970 he received a PhD from Uppsala for a thesis and subsequently a book on the story of the Lutheran Church on the Coast of Tanzania, 1887-1914.
In 1971 the family moved to England, where he became a key figure in the Centre for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations at Selly Oak Colleges in Birmingham. When this closed in 1998 he stayed on as an Associate in the Theology Department of Birmingham University where he was “the father to African students” and always made sure that those who got degrees had some kind of celebration, even if their families could not attend it.
He felt deeply about Africa and African people, and once described himself as “white on the outside and black on the inside”. He kept his interest in Tanzania, and especially Swahili and Islam, till the end.
Minister of Defence and National Service, Elias Kwandikwa, died on August 2 while undergoing treatment in Dar es Salaam. The cause of his death was not immediately made public.
Kwandikwa, who died at the age of 55 was MP for Ushetu Constituency in Shinyanga Region. He was appointed Minister of Defence by late President John Magufuli during his second term on December 05, 2020. Prior to this he had served as Deputy Minister of Works, Transport and Communications.