PRESIDENT John Magufuli yesterday led thousands of mourners, including diplomats and high profile government officials to pay last respects to the fallen media mogul Reginald Mengi, in Dar es Salaam.
Dr Mengi, a philanthropist and father of four, was promoted to glory last week while in a vacation in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates and his body was flown back to the country on Monday.
Other distinguished guests at the last respects paying were Vice-President Samia Suluhu Hassan, former President Ali Hassan Mwinyi and former Speaker of the National Assembly Anne Makinda.
The diplomatic community was represented by French Ambassador to Tanzania Frédéric Clavier who described Mengi’s demise as a great tragedy to all development stakeholders, noting that the best way to honour his life of service was for everyone to play part in sustaining his dreams and good teachings.
The IPP Executive Chairman was best known for his aspiration to promote the welfare of other Tanzanians, especially the poor and contribute to the country’s economic development.
During his lifetime, he once chaired the boards of directors of Tanzania Standard (Newspapers) Limited (TSN), Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) and Tanzania Private Sector Foundation.
Giving the government’s condolences, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Prof Palamagamba Kabudi said the government has closely cooperated with the deceased’s family to ensure preservation and transportation of the body back to the country.
Prof Kabudi said the late Mengi will be remembered for his great contributions to the nation’s economy, especially improvement of business opportunities through attraction of foreign investors to invest in Tanzania.
“Dr Mengi has contributed a lot to our country through his IPP companies and businesses he conducted in various sectors, including mining, natural gas, agriculture and manufacturing,” noted Professor Kabudi.
He added that Dr Mengi participated directly in building the national economy and created jobs for hundreds of Tanzanians.
“His distinctive patriotism has helped to attract investors to come and invest in Tanzania at the same time motivating local investors and entrepreneurs to excel in their business undertakings,” observed Professor Kabudi.
He described Dr Mengi as a true patriotic citizen who was determined to support the country’s industrialisation drive by constructing various industries amid plans underway to invest in the car assembling plant in collaboration with Korean Young Sung Corporation.
According to Prof Kabudi, Dr Mengi had also entered into joint venture with an Indian firm to invest in pharmaceuticals, arguing that, “Mengi’s contribution was almost in every area, he was as well a champion of environmental conservation.”
Earlier, retired Ambassador Juma Mwapachu who was invited to give Dr Mengi’s eulogy described the fallen media mogul as an icon of ethics and success in entrepreneurship in Tanzania and Africa in general.
He said Dr Mengi believed that his dreams, thoughts and successes emanated from God and abhorred poverty in a resource rich country like Tanzania.
Ambassador Mwapachu observed that Dr Mengi was the person who made whatever possible to uplift people from poverty from different angles— education, health and entrepreneurship— among others.
“We all remember his support to children who suffered from heart complications. In education, Dr Mengi fought for the girl child. He was an environmentalist who fought against climate change impacts.
He created jobs, awakening existing and potential entrepreneurial opportunities as well as how to acquire business capitals,” said Ambassador Mwapachu.
Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) Ideology and Publicity Secretary Humphrey Polepole described Dr Mengi as a national bourgeoisie who used his riches for political and economic development of the country.
“In economics and trade, there are two types of rich people—national bourgeoisies who use their resources for development of the country and comprador bourgeoisies who acquire wealth through fishy deals...there is no doubt that Dr Mengi was the national bourgeoisie,” he said.
Mr Polepole quoted the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere saying, “In unorganised society, a socialist millionaire is a rare phenomenon.” He noted that through the conducive business environment created by the government Dr Mengi was a socialist billionaire.
Speaking on behalf of the Christian Council of Tanzania (CCT), Bishop Nelson Kisare said God created the world and many resources and the late Dr Mengi used the available opportunities to transform challenges that inflicting Tanzanians to blessings.
He said Dr Mengi wanted the country’s resources to remain in Tanzania and benefit its citizens.
The body of Dr Mengi is expected to be flown to his home village Nkuu Sinde, Hai today ready for burial on Thursday.