Grief swept across the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) yesterday when the body of the fallen Special Seats Member of Parliament (MP) on Chadema ticket, Dr Elly Macha, arrived in the country from the UK.
Dr Macha (55) who was visually impaired from early childhood died on March 31while undergoing treatment at the New Cross Hospital in Wolvehampton.
And, yesterday, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Tulia Ackson, led the family of the fallen MP, friends and a section of MPs to receive the casket carrying the body of Dr Macha.
Some MPs and family members were soon overcome by grief as six Sergeants-at-Arms carrying the body went through the paces in slow motion and thereupon placed it into a special vehicle prepared for the drive from the airport to the Lugalo Military Hospital mortuary.
Some wept in silence as others, failing to contain their emotions, cried out loud upon seeing the casket at touchdown exactly 5 pm. According to the Deputy Speaker, the body of the former lawmaker will be transported to Dodoma this morning to afford all MPs pay their last respects at Bunge grounds.
Later, the body will be taken to Arusha to also allow her family, relatives and party supporters to pay the last respects. Dr Macha was a Special Seats MP on the opposition party ticket (CHADEMA) from Arusha Region.
She will be buried to her Kirua Vunjo village in Kilimanjaro Region tomorrow.
Speaking to journalists at JNIA, Dr Ackson paid tribute to the fallen MP, saying she stood firm and spoke for people with disabilities (PWDs) every time she stood up to give her contribution in the House.
"Basically, she did justice to all Tanzanians especially PWDs and I believe her recommendations shall be properly worked on by the ministry dealing with of PWDs," she said.
Ms Amina Malikagi, Secretary General of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) women's wing, who is also a Special Seats MP, said the Parliament would miss Dr Macha for her wise contributions. "When it came to defending the rights of women, I remember she was bold and firm, we'll really miss her," she said.
Before her nomination to Parliament, Dr Macha once worked in the Ministry of Education for several years to build inclusive programmes for people with disabilities.
As a former leader of the Eastern Africa Federation of the Disabled, she worked towards the implementation of the UN Convention for Persons with Disabilities in Tanzania.