Burial of an icon, a legend

  • President leads mourners in Lowassa’s solemn ceremony

ARUSHA: AN icon, a legend and a political guru, the late Edward Lowassa will be buried this afternoon at his
home village of Ngarash in Monduli District, Arusha Region.

AN icon, a legend and a political guru, the late Edward Lowassa will be buried this afternoon at his home village of Ngarash in Monduli District, Arusha Region. President Samia Suluhu Hassan will today lead mourners in the burial ceremony.

The late Lowassa passed away last Saturday at the Jakaya Kikwete Heart Institute (JKCI) in Dar es Salaam at the age of 70. VicePresident Dr Philip Mpango announced Lowassa’s death, citing high blood pressure and lung problems as contributing factors.

President Samia declared five national days of mourning, beginning February 10, with the country’s flag flown at half-mast in honour of Lowassa’s legacy. Residents of Monduli District expressed mixed sentiments regarding life without Lowassa.

Some remain optimistic, citing his contributions he made to education and infrastructure development, while others express concerns about potential challenges ahead.

Laigwanani Isack Meijo, leader of the Maasai community in Tanzania, praised Lowassa’s efforts in education, stating, “Lowassa had already educated the Maasai people by building schools for them,” he expressed hope for continued progress, emphasising the strength of the community’s youth.

However, Lamilo Mbayana of Mti Mmoja area voiced apprehensions about the future, particularly regarding essential services like education and water access.

“Who will repair our water dams if they are filled with mud?” she questioned, reflecting on Lowassa’s impactful initiatives. Reflecting on Lowassa’s contributions, retired Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda emphasised his commitment to national interests. “Lowassa managed what he believed for the interests of his country,” Pinda stated, urging leaders to honour his legacy.

Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (Policy, Coordination and Parliamentary Affairs), Jenista Mhagama, highlighted Lowassa’s role in education and urged Tanzanians to honour him for his actions. Chief Traditional Leader of the Maasai Community, Laigwanani Isack Meijo, described Lowassa as a symbol of the community, mourning his loss.

In a show of respect and mourning, hundreds of residents of Monduli, Arusha and neighbouring regions gathered to pay their last respects to Lowassa in Ngarash Village on Friday.

The ceremony, led by retired Prime Minister Pinda, featured tributes from various figures, including religious leaders and politicians. Secretary General of ruling party CCM, Emmanuel Nchimbi expressed sorrow at Lowassa’s passing, praising his dedication to national service.

Close friends, including Minister for Agriculture Hussein Bashe and prominent businessman Rostam Azizi, were visibly emotional during the proceedings.

CCM’s Secretary of the Special Committee of the Central Committee Khamis Khamis, highlighted Lowassa’s patriotism and significant role in various national matters, from education to territorial disputes. Residents of Monduli District, represented by former Morogoro Regional Commissioner Loata Ole Sanare, expressed gratitude for Lowassa’s contributions to education and community development. Sanare emphasised Lowassa’s pivotal role in transforming Monduli and fostering unity among the Maasai community.

In a testament to his dedication in education and community development, it was revealed that the efforts of the late Mr Lowassa to uplift Maasai children educationally have resulted in an impressive 70 per cent of Monduli children gaining access to secondary education, with many others advancing to universities.

Mr Sanare, a prominent figure in Monduli, said with Monduli District comprising 20 wards, Lowassa’s contributions were significant, particularly in establishing boarding secondary schools across more than ten wards.

“These initiatives were aimed at ensuring that Maasai children from nomadic pastoral backgrounds could access quality education and pursue their studies effectively,” he said.

Reflecting on their personal experiences, Sanare, who collaborated closely with Lowassa for over a decade as a Counsellor of Monduli Ward, reiterated their commitment to honouring his legacy for the positive impact he made on Monduli’s residents.

Residents of Laishani village, such as Saruni Paul and Samuel Saitoti, echoed the sentiment, highlighting Lowassa’s role in fostering unity among various Maasai villages.

Paul emphasised that Lowassa’s efforts had significantly increased the accessibility of secondary education for Maasai children, while Saitoti praised his provision of water dams for cattle and support for Maasai women through the distribution of flour milling machines.

Lowassa’s multifaceted contributions to education, community cohesion and livelihood improvement continue to resonate deeply among the people of Monduli, ensuring his enduring legacy within the region.

As Lowassa is laid to rest, Tanzanians mourn the loss of a leader whose legacy continues to resonate across the nation. Despite the grief, there remains a collective commitment to honouring his memory and carrying forward his vision for a better Tanzania.

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