PRIME Minister, Kassim Majaliwa and National Assembly Speaker, Job Ndugai today led Members of Parliament and guests to bid farewell to the late Special Seats Legislator on Chadema ticket, Dr Elly Macha.
Dr Macha, who suffered visual impairment at the age of five months due to measles, died on March 31 while undergoing treatment at the New Cross Hospital in Wolvehampton, United Kingdom (UK).
Government officials, MPs and guests gathered at the August House grounds for a requiem mass, led by Assistant Bishop Samuel Muhina of KKKT Dodoma, to celebrate her life and pay last respects to Dr Macha who will be laid to rest today at Kirua Vunjo, Moshi Rural, Kilimanjaro Region.
Dignitaries from both sides of the political divide paid a glowing tribute to Dr Mach recounting her great contribution within and outside the Parliament in defending the rights of people living with disabilities and the public in general.
Many of the dignitaries who got an opportunity to give homage said it was hard to know which political party, Dr Macha belonged since she only focused on agenda at hand and never took sides despite being from the opposition party.
Prime Minister Majaliwa eulogised the late Special Seats MP as an ardent contributor on issues affecting people living with disabilities and on frequent occasion has advised the government on matters of education and improving of areas used by people with disability.
“Personally as a government leader, the late Dr Macha has provided useful contributions and ideas in Parliament and voiced her advice on education matters and improvement of areas used by people living with disability,” he explained.
The National Assembly Speaker, Job Ndugai, paid a glowing tribute to the late Dr Macha and her achievements which were not hampered by her disability. He said until her death, Dr Macha was the 2nd Vice-President of the World Blind Union (WBU).
“Her death is a major blow to the nation and the world in general. She was a leader not only in Tanzania but She lives a legacy in the country and the world,” he explained.
Before her death, the National Assembly Speaker had received a text message from Dr Macha telling him that her condition was deteriorating prompting Speaker Ndugai to start arrangements of transferring her to India. However, her doctors at New Cross Hospital and the Tanzanian Ambassador to UK, Dr Asha-Rose Migiro advised that they wait until her condition improves because no plane would carry her in the condition she was in.
“I was in constant communication with her and we were waiting for her condition to improve so we could fly her to India for further treatment under Bunge arrangements. She has left a void. not only in her political Party, Chadema, but also in Parliament and people living with disability,” he noted.
The leader of the Opposition in Parliament, Mr Freeman Mbowe, who was also speaking on behalf of all opposition parties, expressed heartfelt appreciation to the government and the National Assembly for the support given since Dr Macha’s admission and death.
Mr Mbowe said the love and unity expressed by political parties following Dr Macha’s death should not end after the deceased is buried but should continue. “This friendship that has developed should not end tomorrow (today) after the burial of Dr Macha.
Let’s look at this death as a lesson,” he said, adding that Dr Macha has been instrumental in fostering positive change and rights for people living with disability.
Reading the deceased’s biography Peter Msigwa (Iringa Urban - Chadema) said Dr Macha was born on 18 June, 1962 at Kirua Vunjo Village in Kilimanjaro Region and went on to have illustrious career in public service and academic.
On the WBU website the President, Dr Frederic Shcroeder, said Dr Macha brought the strong voice of blind women and persons with disabilities from the developing world to the WBU. “She had already made a tremendous contribution to our work and we were looking forward to benefit from her knowledge and advocacy skills during the coming years, her leadership, expertise and strong sense of social justice will be missed.”
The Minister of State in the President’s Office, Public Service Management, Ms Angella Kairuki, will represent the government in the burial of Dr Macha in Kilimanjaro today which will be led by the National Assembly Speaker Job Ndugai.