Dar es Salaam — Members of the business community, diplomats and government officials yesterday gave an emotional farewell to the late entrepreneur and business leader Ali Mufuruki, who left three of his dreams unfulfilled.
Mufuruki's burial at the Kisutu cemetery in Dar es Salaam was preceded by a solemn farewell function at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre, where hundreds of mourners from across East Africa and beyond, led by Retired President Benjamin Mkapa, turned up to pay their respects.
Mufuruki, who died at the age of 61 in Johannesburg on Sunday, had ambitions of setting up a factory for producing environmentally-friendly alternative bags.
He also had a dream of leading the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) as well as taking his beloved Lugalo Golf Club to the next level.
Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Vice President's Office responsible for environment Joseph Sokoine said after the government banned the use of plastic bags, Mufuruki shared with him his plan to invest in the production of environmentally friendly alternative bags that would have been affordable to the majority of Tanzanians.
This, he said, was meant to support the government's efforts in protecting the environments
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Mr Sokoine said Mufuruki would be remembered for his influence and contribution in including environmental protection as one of the criteria in the Top 100 Mid-Sized Companies Survey.
The survey, which kicked off eight years ago, is the brainchild of Mwananchi Communications Limited (MCL) through its The Citizen brand and KPMG, the audit, tax and advisory services firm.
"Mufuruki will be remembered as a leader, advisor and true patriot," noted Mr Sokoine.
TPSF executive director Godfrey Simbeye said Mufuruki, who is survived by a widow and four children, did not fulfil his dream of becoming the leader of the umbrella for the private sector.
Mr Simbeye said in 2013 Mufuruki was of the view that if the private sector was to have one strong voice, it should have a good visionary leader.
He (Mr Simbeye) asked Mr Mufuruki if he had an ambition of becoming a private sector leader, and the answer was yes.
"But as of now let us leave this position to Reginald Mengi," Mr Simbeye quoted Mufuruki saying.
However even after the retirement of the late Mengi, the TPSF leadership again asked him to take over but to no avail.
Fighting back tears, Mr Simbeye quoted Mr Mufuruki as saying, yet again, "This is not the right time."
"Ali has served in various boards of directors, but he never served as the TPSF chairman," noted Mr Simbeye.
He said Mufuruki did not fulfil his dream of taking the private sector to the next level.
And even after he wrote his book about the journey in investment in the manufacturing sector he believed he still had more to contribute.
"You have lost a husband, your children have lost a father, but we in the private sector have lost a leader," Mr Simbeye told Mufuruki's widow, Saada.
The Lugalo Golf Club representative, Brigadier General (retired) Michael Luongo, said the club, of which Mufuruki had been a member since its inception in 2007, had several plans that were set to be executed with effect from next year.
"Our advisor and pillar has gone. I don't know how we are going to implement the plans," he said.
In honouring Mufuruki, he added that the club had agreed to establish the Ali Mufuruki Golf Trophy competition to be held annually.
MCL board chairman Leonard Mususa described Mr Mufuruki as a man with an inquisitive mind, courage and high ethical standards, who was also a mentor to others.
"Ali will be missed by many not only in Tanzania but across Africa," Mr Mususa said on behalf of the Nation Media Group (NMG) board chairman Wilfred Kiboro.
Mr Ami Mpungwe described Mufuruki as humbled, hard work, respectful, kind and helpful person.
"Ali was a person of unquestionable personal integrity," noted Mr Mpungwe, who had known the late business leader for 32 years.