Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

31 December 2012

Tanzania: Tribute to Siraju Juma Kaboyonga

Former Tabora-Urban lawmaker Siraju Juma Kaboyonga was a man explicit in many ways and was not averse to publicity. I knew Mr Kaboyonga as an accomplished economist and yet seasoned politician that has had a chequered and illustrious career in both respects.

For us, journalists, when we sought to interview him, he was always ready to speak.With preciseness, he was an authority on the issues he put his hands on,whether in Parliament or on the Boards on which he served. Even as he lost his Tabora- Urban Parliamentary seat, he kept alive and committed to serving on various Boards in the country.

His regular appearance on public discussions including the TBC 'This week in Perspective ' was described by followers as intelligent and meticulous. Many who eulogized him, following his death recently, described him as a man who had a sophisticated understanding of things yet he maintained the common touch.

His friends eulogised him as generous, warm and trusting to his loyal circle. President Jakaya Kikwete , in his message of condolence to Social Security Regulatory Authority (SSRA) Director General Irene Isaka, following the sudden death of the lawmaker, who was chairman of the regulatory authority's board, said he received with great sorrow news of the death of Kaboyonga.

"I have received the news of the death of Kaboyonga with great sorrow... I send my condolences to you and through you to the family of the deceased for the loss of the elder of the family," he said, adding that he was with family as it mourned the death of their beloved father, the statement said.

Urambo-West legislator Prof Juma Kapuya has said the late Kaboyonga was a person who preferred to do research before he spoke on public issues. "He was a good friend of mine and also a brother-in-law. So I know him very well. His death has left a gap. I will miss his good advice.

The late Kaboyonga leaves behind two wives, Mwema Punzi and Nuru Kisesa, twelve children and six grandchildren. Before he became a lawmaker, the late Kaboyonga served as a manager for East African Development Bank (EADB), Twiga Bancorp board member and Tanzania Education Authority (TEA) board member.

The late Kaboyonga, who was Member of Parliament for Tabora on the Chama Cha Mpinduzi (CCM) ticket from 2005 to 2010, died of heart attack at the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) on Tuesday night. The president noted that his abilities made him to be appointed the SSRA board chairman, where he has left clear contribution.

"Following the death of SSRA board chairman, I am sending you a condolences message and through you to the late Kaboyonga's family, for having lost a leader and a pillar of the family,' he noted. The late Kaboyonga has also held various positions in a number of institutions, including board chairman of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) and manager of the East African Development Bank (EADB) in Dar es Salaam.

He was also a board member of Tanzania Railways Limited when under the management of RITES of India. The economist-turned politician, who served as MP for Tabora Urban between 2005 and 2010, died on Tuesday evening at the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH).

Until 2010,he was the Member of Parliament for Tabora Urban.Tabora was founded by Arab traders in the 1850s (known then as Kazeh) and became a centre of the slave trade. In 1871 it was devastated by the forces of the Wanyamwezi ruler Mirambo.

Although the German East Africa protectorate was proclaimed over the region in 1885, as late as 1891 travellers reported it to be a lawless town and the German colonial administration did not gain control of it until later that year. As a major station on the Central Line it became the most important administrative centre of central German East Africa.

During the East African Campaign of World War I colonial armed forces of the Belgian Congo ('Force Publique') under the command of General Charles Tombeur captured the city on 19 September 1916 after some heavy fighting. The Arab name of the town was restored after 1919. Of a more recent character is a noteworthy visit by John Legend in August 2008 to Tabora and the Millennium Development program run by the UNDP close to Tabora.

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