Dar es Salaam. Prominent businessman-cum-politician Salim Hassan Turky, alias Mr White, 57, is no more.
He died at Tasakhta Hospital in Zanzibar after a short illness on Monday evening, and was buried yesterday in Fumba, Unguja, after prayers held at Othman Maalim Mosque.
Turky had been the Member of Parliament for Mpendae since 2010. He died at a time when the ruling CCM had already nominated him as its candidate for the seat in the October 28 General Election.
The wealthy politician was chairman of Turky Group of Companies, which has business interests in Tanzania and the Comoros.
With the trade name Vigor, Turky Group of Companies also has interests in the health sector in Zanzibar where it owns Tasakhta Hospital as well as Tourist Medical Services.
In logistics and transport, the company owns Vigor Aviation, Zan Fast Ferries and V-Diesel, while in the manufacturing sector, its companies include Zainab Bottlers, Turky Mifuko and Kisarawe Cement.
In the hospitality sector, Turky Group of Companies owns Golden Tulip Hotel Dar es Salaam City Centre and Golden Tulip Stone Town Hotel in Zanzibar.
The company also owns Nitak Communications, Turky Real Estate, Zenj Merchandise and Turky LPG Gas.
In the Comoros, the company has interests in Golden Tulip Grande Comore, Vigo Financial Services and Green Energy.
In his message to the firms’ clients and partners, posted on the company’s website, Turky described Vigor as one of the largest business groups in Tanzania.
“Since 1980 my brother and I, later joined by our sons, have dedicated ourselves to both the strategic of development of the Turky Group of Companies and the overall advancement of the Turky Group in terms of cultivating new ideas, products and business growth,” the statement says.
His death means that the political party he represented will have to pick another candidate within 30 days, the National Electoral Commission (NEC) director of elections, Dr Wilson Mahera, told The Citizen yesterday.
“We are aware of reports of the death of the CCM candidate, but we have yet to be notified officially. Once we receive an official communication, we will ask the relevant party to nominate another candidate,” he said.
Dr Mahera added that had the candidate died on Election Day before 4pm, the procedure would have been different, but since his death occurred during the campaign period, the party that sponsored him concerned would pick another candidate in line with their procedures.
Meanwhile, condolences poured in yesterday, with Chadema presidential candidate Tundu Lissu describing Turky as someone who played a key role in saving his life after he was shot and critically wounded in Dodoma three years ago.
“On the day I was shot multiple times in Dodoma on September 7, 2017, Turky provided the financial guarantee for my evacuation by air to Nairobi for emergency treatment. He thereby played a major role in saving my life and my eventual recovery. May he rest in eternal peace,” Mr Lissu wrote on his Twitter page.
A close friend of Turky and former Malindi MP, Mr Ally Saleh, said he grew up together with the late politician, adding that his death was a big loss to Zanzibar and CCM.
“Zanzibar and CCM have lost a very important person, who brought people together irrespective of their political affiliations,” the opposition politician said.