Mufuruki's dream of writing a memoir remains unfulfilled

Monday December 9 2019


By Samuel Kamndaya @TindwaSamuel

Dar es Salaam. The departed Tanzanian dollar millionaire Ali Mufuruki has left behind some unfulfilled dreams, including his desire to write an autobiography.

Mr Mufuruki - whose fortune was estimated at $110 million by Ventures Africa a few years ago - succumbed to Pneumonia at Morningside Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa, yesterday.

Being a talented motivational speaker, an account of his life written by himself (autobiography) would undoubtedly impact on lives of millions of Tanzanians in a number of ways.

Mr Mufuruki was the kind of a person who would be always willing to share life experiences, mostly ways of building wealth - at individual, national, regional and global levels – with others.

In fact, at one point, he queried the reluctance of former leaders in writing memoirs.

Until 2009, it was only former first Vice President of the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar, Seif Sharif Hamad, who had published his memoirs in a book authored by G. Thomas Burgess titled ‘Race, revolution and the struggle for human rights in Zanzibar: The memoirs of Ali Sultan Issa and Seif Sharif Hamad.’


In 2013, it was the turn of former Bank of Tanzania Governor Edwin Mtei to write his memoirs titled ‘From Goat-Herd to Governor.’

In a 2013 interview with The Citizen, Mufuruki felt unhappy that leaders were not penning enough of their memoirs.

“The silence of Tanzania’s leaders is odd. Citizens are always curious but there is nothing to quench that curiosity,” Mr Mufurki told The Citizen in an interview that focused on the need to write memoirs in 2013.

Five years later (in 2018), Mr Reginald Mengi (who died in May this year) published an autobiography titled I Can, I Must, I Will chronicling his journey from a humble background in a small village in Machame, Kilimanjaro to his emergence as one of the most successful businessmen in Africa.

So when former President Benjamin Mkapa launched his autobiography in a book titled My Life, My Purpose: A Tanzanian President Remembers, a few weeks ago, Mr Mufuruki was undoubtedly one of the happiest Tanzanians. Speaking at the occasion, he said he was in the process publishing his own memoirs.

He praised Mr Mkapa for openly putting his personal, family and career story in the book, noting that the former president’s memoirs gave him a lesson on how to improve his own.

“Being someone who is struggling to write a book, I have been greatly encouraged by former President Mkapa’s memoirs. He has given me a lesson on how to write an autobiography… Mr Mkapa has been very open by writing his good and bad experiences as well as his achievements and failures,” he said. But, unfortunately, that was not to be, for Mufuruki had to shockingly and unexpectedly depart the world without writing his memoirs.

President John Magufuli was one of those who mourned Ali Mufuruki through his twitter.

With his freestyle system of advising the government on matters pertaining to industrialization and nurturing the growth of the private sector, President Magufuli’s administration needed many people of Ali Mufuruki’s calibre.

No wonder, it was President Magufuli himself who penned the Foreword of the 2017 book co-authored by Ali Mufuruki, the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange CEO Moremi Marwa, business development manager at General Electric Gilman Kasiga and Mr Rahim Mawji, who was then a student pursuing a Master’s degree in China.

Titled Tanzania’s Industrialisation Journey, 2016-2056, the book advocates protectionism and government backing as the best way to achieve the much voveted industrial economy.

The book’s authors also believe that Tanzania needs to put its priorities in order instead of trying to develop almost everything using the meagre resources.

Mr Mufuruki, Mr Marwa, Mr Kasiga and Mr Mawji highlight several issues that need to be addressed for Tanzania to successfully move through a 40-year industrialisation journey starting in 2016.

The issues include setting out priorities, dealing with energy, revamping the education systems, new ways of mobilising capital and economic patriotism.

On energy, the authors argue that Africa - and Tanzania in particular - needs a new, affordable, accessible and abundantly available source of energy to develop.

The continent also needs associated value chains and technologies to be found and harnessed by Africans, with solar power high on the cards.

To industrialise the country, the authors argue, Tanzania needs to adopt a strategy that will ensure that it imports from afar only those goods and services that are not readily available locally or regionally. In 2014, for instance, the authors write, Tanzania imported consumer goods worth $2.6 billion which was 23 percent of the total value of all the goods imported into the country.