JK recalls moments with Lowassa

DAR ES SALAAM: FORMER President Jakaya Kikwete on Monday recalled moments with the late former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa, especially the latter’s role in encouraging him to vie for presidency in the country.

Speaking to journalists at the residence of the late Lowassa in Masaki, Dar es Salaam, yesterday, Dr Kikwete said that in 1995 the late Lowassa convinced him to join and vie for presidency.

“The late Lowassa accompanied by Samwel Sitta and Rostam Aziz came to my home to convince me to join him in picking presidential nomination forms,” Dr Kikwete revealed.

Upon which Dr Kikwete heeded the call and contested for intraparty nomination whereby he was named among the top three candidates for the party.

However, the late Benjamin Mkapa was nominated and contested for the presidency with CCM’s ticket, and won the election. President Mkapa then appointed Kikwete as his Minister for Foreign affairs.

According to Dr Kikwete, the late Lowassa and him set a joint strategy to vie for the presidency in 2005, where Mr Kikwete succeeded in becoming the President and Lowassa became his Prime Minister, but later challenges arose which forced him to resign.

However, Dr Kikwete said that both were in political movements and working in the ruling party, CCM, and later became members of parliament and ministers.

That reinforced Dr Kikwete and Lowassa further knowing each other, despite both studying together at University of Dar es Salaam, where Kikwete was one or two years ahead. He added that even when Lowassa resigned from leadership, they continued to be friends and collaborated in various matters.

“Edward Lowassa has made a great contribution to the country and even the challenges that arose during his leadership cannot erase the good things he did in our country,” he said.

Dr Kikwete also expressed his sympathy on the passing of Lowassa saying he got shocked, when he received the news about Lowassa’s death, although he knew he was sick, but he did not expect that he would die that fast. He asked Tanzanians to continue to pray for him so that God rests his soul in eternal peace, adding: “Let’s continue to pray for Lowassa so that the God may rest his soul in eternal peace.” The former Premier Lowassa, 70, passed away on Saturday while undergoing treatment at Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute (JKCI) in Dar es Salaam.

He’s survived by a widow and seven children.

In paying last respects, former Minister for Energy and Minerals, Mr William Ngeleja, also arrived at the late Lowassa’s home, where he described him as a national symbol that should be remembered, further saying that he brought a lot of changes in every sector that he worked in and left a mark.

“He was a trustful leader, who brought changes in the education sector since he believed that education is for all and no one should miss the opportunity,” Mr Ngeleja pointed out.

Mr Ngeleja said among the things that people should learn from Lowassa’s tenure as Prime Minister was the power of making hard decisions on development projects that benefited the nation.

For his part, the Chairman of the Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation, Joseph Butiku commented that, the late Lowassa was an independent thinker who believed on hard work for the country’s interest. He said that through his leadership, Mr Lowassa helped in setting up a water system that benefited a lot of people in Shinyanga and Sengerema in Lake Victoria Zone-something which has left a huge mark of his good work to the nation.

“Another thing he was a person of good morals who lived in accordance to the laws of the nation,” Mr Butiku explained.

Likewise, the Minister for Home Affairs, Engineer Hamad Masauni, highlighted how hard working Lowassa was, he said through his leadership, a number of politicians emulated him. Eng Masauni said Lowassa was a man who walked his talks and who wanted to see justice and reasonable answers to questions, which would work for the benefit of the nation.

“The youth and upcoming politicians should be ambassadors of what the late Lowassa left behind,” Eng Masauni said.

On her part, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (Policy, Parliament and Coordination) Jenista Mhagama said it was Lowassa who initiated the programme of one crop type in one district that was aimed at increasing commercial crops for the sake of eliminating poverty and fighting against hunger.

“It should be remembered that, during Lowassa’s leadership the country faced shortage of food and he came up with a strategy that helped to have enough food for the nation,” she noted.

Zanzibar’s Minister of State- Second Vice-President (Policy, Coordination and House of Representatives) Mr Hamza Hassan Juma emphasised on development brought by Mr Lowassa, saying he is an example to be followed.

“We support the efforts made in the nation and we will forever cherish and remember what he did,” Mr Juma said.

He said the late Lowassa put first the interests of the nation and had a good vision, emphasising that people should be patriotic in serving others just as he did.

Meanwhile, Government’s Chief Spokesperson Mobhare Matinyi gave updates over the preparations of Lowassa’s funeral services, saying Vice-President Dr Philip Mpango will today lead mourners in paying last respects at the Karimjee grounds in Dar es Salaam ahead of his burial in Monduli.

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