INTELLECT. Foresight. Honesty. These are among the glowing tributes paid by a section of mourners after paying their last respects to the body of the Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs, Dr William Mgimwa, in Dar es Salaam.
They described the late Dr Mgimwa as a man of extraordinary humility and admired the way he combined intellect, foresight and honesty in executing government work.
The minister, who died at a South African hospital, Mediclinic Kloof, based in Pretoria on January 1 where he was admitted for emergency treatment, will be laid to rest in Magunga Village, Iringa Region this afternoon.
Cabinet ministers, the First Lady, Mama Salma Kikwete, Former First Lady Mama Maria Nyerere, members of the diplomatic corps, senior government officials and members of the public turned up at the Karimjee Hall in the city, led by the Vice-President, Dr Mohamed Gharib Bilal, to pay their last respects.
Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms Anne Makinda, said that before his demise, Dr Mgimwa participated fully in the newly-formed budget committee that was following up budget implementation every three months.
"As a minister, he attended these meetings and always listened to advice from members with all humility. He was a very understanding person and ready to receive reform proposals with open hands," she said.
In a tear-inducing comment, Ms Makinda remarked that Dr Mgimwa's presence was very crucial at this point in time and had it been possible to overturn death, they would have asked God to do so.
She noted that his presence was important in sourcing for funds to implement government projects in the current 2013/2014 budget. "We ask God to guide the president to choose an equally resourceful and humble person with such foresight," she prayed.
"Regardless of whoever he spoke to, he listened to advice," she added The Zanzibar Minister of State in the Second Vice-President's Office, Mr Mohammed Aboud, said the late minister was an important 'connector' between fiscal and monetary policies to actually delivery of public services across the country.
Deputy Finance and Economic Affairs Minister, Saada Salum Mkuya said Dr Mgimwa respected everyone's thoughts, was humble and had his right mind on the job. "We learnt a lot from him for the 20 months that we were under his leadership.
Knowing that we were new in political leadership, he was close to us and mentored us to a fresh level of understanding what it means to deliver to the public on issues of budgeting and financial management," she said.
Representing the Parliamentary Committee on Economy and Finance, Iramba MP (CCM) Mwigulu Nchemba said the late Dr Mgimwa respected other people's thoughts, walked the talk and was an expert who implemented what he pledged even after entering politics.
"He illustrated to us that accountability concerned everyone, whether in government, Parliament or at personal level."
Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Mr Freeman Mbowe, said that for the last couple of years when the late Dr Mgimwa was in politics at national level, he was a conflict solver, which he did with humility both before and after becoming minister.
"He was mannerly and civil," said Mr Mbowe as he asked political leaders to emulate the exemplary life of Dr Mgimwa; that of being down to earth and humble regardless of the high position in public.
Peramiho lawmaker (CCM), Ms Jenista Mhagama sent her condolences to the people in Kalenga constituency, saying that the minister's demise has left a huge gap as he was a resourceful MP who was never absent.
"He contributed insightful points; we all respected him when he stood to speak even when he was still an ordinary MP. He was an illustration of resourceful person in our party," she said.
Nominated MP James Mbatia (NCCR Mageuzi) said the late Mgimwa was a great listener who reflected first before responding to anyone.
Southern African Development Community (SADC) Executive Secretary, Dr Stergomena Tax said the late minister was important in the region as he was instrumental in customs reforms and budget policies. UNDP and East Africa Community (EAC) also sent representatives.
The Chairman of the Burial Committee, Mr William Lukuvi, who is also the Minister of State in Prime Minister's Office (Policy, Coordination and Parliamentary Affairs), read a letter from Zanzibar President, Dr Ali Mohamed Shein who also paid a tribute to the departed minister.
The late Dr Mgimwa will be laid to rest at Magunga village in Iringa Region today. President Jakaya Kikwete will lead the mourners. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister, Mr Mizengo Pinda, arrived in Iringa yesterday to attend the burial.
Mr Pinda went straight to Magunga village, Kiponzelo ward in Iringa District, Dr Mgimwa's home village. The premier than proceeded to the Siasa ni Kilimo Hall in Iringa municipality where Iringa residents were paying their last respects.