JPM, diplomats express shock at minister Dr Mahiga’s death

02May 2020
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
JPM, diplomats express shock at minister Dr Mahiga’s death

PRESIDENT John Magufuli and members of the diplomatic corps are among those who expressed shock yesterday following the death of Constitutional and Legal Affairs minister Dr Augustine Philip Mahiga earlier in the day.

Dr Augustine Philip Mahiga.

They mourned the long-serving diplomat by praising his contribution to his country and as an international civil servant.

Dr Mahiga (born August 28, 1945) died at his residence in Dodoma, where he had been attending the National Assembly’s marathon annual Budget meeting, after a short illness.

Shortly after an official announcement on the death, condolence messages poured in to the mainstream media and on social media.

In a statement issued by the Directorate of Presidential Communication, President Magufuli extended his condolences to the National Assembly, the deceased’s family members and relatives, the Constitutional and Legal Affairs staff and residents of Iringa Region, Dr Mahiga’s home place. 

The president Magufuli described the late minister as a humble person, noting that the government was mourning together with Tanzanians on the demise of a renowned leader who devoted himself fully to his career as a public servant locally and abroad.

“Dr Mahiga was a hard worker, a patriot, a diplomatic hero and an ethical leader who represented and fought gallantly for Tanzania in the international arena,” the president declared.

“Despite holding various local and international leadership positions for many years, Dr Mahiga remained a humble person all his life,” the presidential statement added.

In a condolence message, United Nations Resident Coordinator Zlatan Milišić said the UN family in Tanzania was sending condolences to the late Dr Mahiga’s family and to the government and people of Tanzania for “this very sad loss”.

“Balozi (Ambassador) Mahiga was part of the UN family, having held very senior UN positions in many different countries,” said the UN top official.

The Chinese Embassy in Dar es Salaam meanwhile also expressed sadness and deep condolences to the passing of Dr Mahiga, saying his outstanding contribution to the development of Sino-Tanzania relations would be fondly remembered.

British High Commissioner Sarah Cooke said she was saddened on hearing of the passing of Dr Mahiga.

“He was a wise and experienced diplomat, a close partner and friend of the UK. My thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very sad time,” she wrote on her twitter handle.

The German Embassy wrote on its twitter page that it was “with deep regret that we learned of the passing of Tanzania’s Constitutional and Legal Affairs minister Dr Augustine Mahiga, who was also a former Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation.”

For his part, East African Community Secretary General Ambassador Libérat Mfumukeko conveyed his condolences to President Magufuli, Dr Mahiga’s family, relatives and friends as well as the government and the people of Tanzania.

He said Dr Mahiga was a dedicated East African who firmly believed in regional integration for the benefit of the people of East Africa, and demonstrated unwavering commitment and support to the regional bloc during his tenure as Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation from 2015 to 2019.

“A seasoned diplomat, Ambassador Mahiga forged ever-stronger international partnerships for the region besides deepening the Community’s ties with the rest of the world. The demise of Ambassador Mahiga is therefore a big loss to Tanzania and the Community,” noted Mfumukeko.

Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretary General Dr Stergomena Tax said the regional bloc would forever remember Dr Mahiga for his contribution and unwavering commitment to regional peace, stability and security when he served as chairman of the ministerial committee of the organ “at a critical time”.

The Tanzania Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRAGG) also sent its condolences, describing Dr Mahiga as a patriotic figure who fought for Tanzania’s development.

“We also join Tanzanians in mourning the death of Dr Mahiga. We are calling for the late diplomat’s family to seek inner strength during this difficult time,” the commission said, in part.

The CCM headquarters expressed its sadness on Dr Mahiga’s passing, saying he was among leaders who have contributed immensely to Tanzania’s development.

CCM Publicity and Ideology Secretary Humphrey Polepole noted in a statement that Dr Mahiga was also once a lecturer in the party’s ideological college who used to shape selected Tanzanian youth to graduate into good leaders.

“The party joins Dr Mahiga’s family members, relatives, friends and all Tanzanians in mourning his passing. He will be remembered for the patriotism he showed for the country,” Polepole said.

Dr Mahiga served as Tanzania’s 14th Foreign Affairs minister from 2015 to last year.

He previously served as the Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 2003 to 2010 and as the UN Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Political Office for Somalia from 2010 to 2013.

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