DAR ES SALAAM residents yesterday turned out in thousands to receive the body of Dr Reginald Mengi as the entire East African region mourns the fallen media mogul.
Various public figures, including ministers, members of parliament and regional commissioners also joined the mourners.
Huge crowd of Dar es Salaam residents gathered at Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) while others lined up along the roads where the motorcade passed through to Lugalo Hospital where the body was preserved.
Dar es Salaam residents and other Tanzanians from neighbouring regions are today expected to pay their last respect to Dr Mengi at the Karimjee Hall in the city.
The fallen media mogul will be laid to rest in his home village Nkuu Sinde, Machame, Hai District in Kilimanjaro region on Thursday, this week.
The one-time Tanzania Standard Newspapers Limited (TSN) board Chair, Dr Mengi, who was also the chairman of Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) and IPP Gold Ltd, died in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, last Thursday.
Meanwhile, the East African Business Council (EABC) has consoled the family of the late Dr Mengi, following the loss of the business magnet, author and philanthropist.
The regional apex body of private sector associations and corporates from the six East African Community (EAC) member states eulogised the Tanzanian billionaire as an adorable, kind, philanthropic, intelligent, mentor, media leader, industry champion and business leader.
In its condolence message availed to ‘Daily News’, the EABC paid tribute to the media tycoon for reenergising optimism in regional integration by spearheading private sector views to be incorporated in the EAC Common Market Protocol and advocate for its signing.
“He established the East African Media Summit and awards to raise awareness on the benefits of EAC regional integration for the East Africans,” read the statement.
Dr Mengi served as the EABC Board Chairman be tween 2008 and 2009. The EABC described the late Dr Mengi’s demise as a great loss to the East African business community, East Africans and all people who strongly believe in borderless East Africa.
It said, “His vast knowledge and experience in regional integration will always be cherished; it’s our duty to follow his footsteps and vision for the growth and prosperity for the East Africans.”
The late Mengi is also credited with the establishment of the media empire— IPP Media—that serves Tanzania and parts of East Africa.
His death comes five months after he announced investments in IPP Automobile, a car assembly plant and mobile phone manufacturer. Last November, Dr Mengi inked a deal with South Korean firm to establish the vehicle assembly plant at Kurasini by September 2019.
The 10 million US dollar plant is a joint venture between IPP Automobile Company Ltd and Y oungsan Glonet Corporation. The carmaker that targets Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia and Malawian markets expects to assemble about 1,000 vehicles per year and employ over 1,000 people.
In Kilimanjaro region yesterday, not even the morning drizzles could dampen the residents’ spirit as they assembled at the fallen Mengi’s home to mourn the man they say gave them a new lease of life.
“We have come here in numbers to pay homage to Dr Reginald Mengi after his relentless fight for our rights and support to our livelihoods,” said Ms Janeth Mosha, one of the persons with disabilities who thronged the late media mogul’s residence yesterday.
As she put it, “The death of Dr Mengi has robbed us an important person in our lives.”