Tanzania: Samia Mourns Departed Defense Minister

PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hasan has sent her condolences to the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), General Venance Mabeyo on the death of Minister for Defence and National Service, Elias Kwandikwa.

Kwandikwa who was also the Member of Parliament for Ushetu in Shinyanga region died on Monday in Dar es Salaam while undergoing treatment at the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH).

According to a statement issued by the Director of Presidential Communications, Jaffar Haniu, President Samia has received information on the passing of the cabinet minister with great shock.

"We have lost a great leader whose contributions in civil service will not be forgotten. He was a good leader who always adhered to all the rules and regulations," said President Samia in part of the State House statement. President Samia who was in Rwanda for a two-day state visit, said the late Kwandikwa will be remembered for his great contributions for the country and the constituency he was representing in Parliament.

The Head of State also asked CDF Mabeyo to convey her sympathy to the family of the deceased, relatives and those who were associating with the deceased. In another development, Speaker Job Ndugai said the Parliament was equally saddened by the demise of Mr Kwandikwa.

"I have received with great shock the information on the passing of Mr Kwandikwa, I'm conveying my condolences to the government, all Members of Parliament, family of the deceased and residents of Ushetu constituency," read part of a statement from the Parliament.

Also, the Parliament statement has it that updates on funeral arrangements will be issued after consultation with the government. Before becoming the Defense and National Security Minister, the late Kwandikwa was the Deputy Minister for Works in the former ministry for Works, Transport and Communications from October 2017 to November 2020.

Mr Kwandikwa was born on 1 July 1966 in Shinyanga region of Tanzania. He attended Kisuke Primary School, from 1977 until 1983. He also got his secondary education at Mwenge Secondary School from 1984 to 1987.

Between 1988 and 1990, he obtained an Advanced Certificate of Secondary Education at Shinyanga Secondary School.

He then joined the Office of the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) in the capacity of Clerk Examiner Grade II from 1990 to 1995 when he was promoted to Clerk Examiner grade I, a post that he served until 1997. From 1997 until 1999, he served as an Accounts Examiner Grade III.

He was also studying at the Institute of Finance Management (IFM) and graduated with an Advanced Diploma in Accountancy. In 1999, Mr Kwandikwa became an Assistant Resident Auditor for the Coast Region under the office of CAG. In 2004, the National Board of Accountants and Auditors (NBAA), awarded him a certificate as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), before he was appointed the Assistant Resident Auditor for the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA).

Mr Kwandikwa also obtained a Master of Business Administration from the Eastern and Southern African Management Institute (EASAMI), in 2015. Later in 2005, he was appointed Chief Accountant in the Office of CAG, a post that he held until 2015.

The late Kwandikwa was an active member of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), starting back in 1991, when he served as a member of the party's central committee.

He has held several positions in the Youth Wing of the party, at local, regional and national levels over the years. In 2015, he contested the parliamentary seat for Ushetu constituency on the CCM political party ticket where he won. He contested again in the 2020 general election and managed to defend his seat that he held until his death.

Mr Kwandikwa becomes the fourth Member of Parliament to die since the 12th Parliament Started in November, 2020. Others include Martha Umbula Martha who was Special seats MP (CCM) for Manyara Region who died on January 21, 2021 in Mumbai, India, where she was receiving treatment.

The list also has former CCM's Muhambwe constituency MP, Eng Atashasta Nditiye and Konde MP on ACT- Wazalendo ticket, Khatib Said Haji. The duo died in February 12, this year and May 20, 2021, respectively.

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