Monduli set for 40th anniversary of Sokoine death

By Marc Nkwame , The Guardian
Published at 03:49 AM Apr 03 2024
Former premier Edward Moringe Sokoine
Photo: Courtesy of Sokoine Foundation
Former premier Edward Moringe Sokoine

RESIDENTS and the public authorities here engaged in preparations to mark the 40th anniversary of the death of former premier Edward Moringe Sokoine who was killed in a road crash on April 12, 1984.

The Sokoine Foundation and the regional secretariat have indicated that a number of cabinet ministers and other leading officials are expected to turn up for remembrances of the late premier at his Monduli family residence in the coming week.

Former president Jakaya Kikwete led reminiscences back in 2014 when he was still in the helm, whereas back in 2004, then prime minister Frederick Sumaye led in the high powered event, also attended by other ex-premiers, Salim Ahmed Salim, John Malecela and Joseph Warioba, marking the 20th anniversary of the late premier’s passing on.

Family sources affirm that President Samia Suluhu and Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa have expressed readiness to attend the occasion. Family spokesman Lembris Kipuyo said there will be a requiem mass in the memory of the departed leader at the local parish of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT).

A visit to the homestead indicated ongoing preparations for the benchmark anniversary for the ex-premier who represented Monduli constituency from 1965 (then called Masai District) up to his death

The crash occurred at Dakawa near Morogoro, as the premier headed back to Dar es Salaam following a session of the legislature. His official Mercedes Benz limousine rammed into hardtop Toyota Land-Cruiser BJ Series, property of the African National Congress (ANC) Mazimbu training camp, with the driver being Dumisani Dube.

A variety of analysts at the time suggested that the premier who was working from his rear seat did not have his seat belt on, and as a diabetic on regular treatment, the shock of a crash disturbed his physiological balances beyond measure

Edward Sokoine took administration studies in Germany from 1962 to 1963, becoming district executive officer for Masai District, which combined the later Monduli, Longido, Ngorongoro and Simanjiro districts.

He was elected to the National Assembly for the Maasai constituency in 1965 then appointed deputy minister for Communication, Transport and Labour in 1967.

He was then appointed Minister of State in 1970 and in a cabinet reshuffle in1972 he became Minister of Defence and National Service, then exchanged places in February 1977 with Rashidi Kawawa, who was shifted to the Defence portfolio while Sokoine took over as prime minister, the most exciting cabinet reshuffle during the 23 years of President Nyerere’s leadership.

As the country went to war with Ugandan dictator Iddi Amin from November 1978 to April 1979 with Sokoine mobilising the fighters in the frontline on several occasions, and economic difficulties sharpening, the then premier suffering ill health, Sokoine did not return to the premiership after the October 1980 general election, but as economic difficulties mounted and stability appeared to be at issue, he was reappointed to the position early 1983.

He moved into all0out war with commodity smuggling along the country’s borders and presumed hoarding of commodities to sell at hikes prices, which economic analysts figured it could bring the economy to a halt.

President Nyerere stopped the anti-economic sabotage campaign as it was called, and the premier shifted gear, to allow individuals to bring in used clothing when they have their own supplies of foreign exchange, as well as other commodities.

It served as the starting point for his successor, Ambassador Salim Ahmed Salim who took over after Sokoine died in the road crash, and then it became the principal axis of policy under President Nyerere’s successor, Ali Hassan Mwinyi.