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Meet Kuwayawaya: The man obsessed with colour red

Sunday November 01 2020
mr red

Many questions ring in people’s minds as to why 65-year-old Stephen Kuwayawaya puts on red attire all the time.

In Mackay Street, Dodoma there I saw this man. Locals call him Mr Red. His way of life is controversial, according to the locals; right from leadership to ghetto.

Even his office and home interior is covered with red curtains, red carpet, red table cloth and everything red.

Could the colour have any relation with his past? Just like many others, I wondered too.

Who is Mr Red?

Mr Kuwayawaya was once a member of Parliament for Chilonwa (now Chamwino) in early 90’s, now a senior advocate and a bishop for the Anglican Evangelical Churches of Tanzania, diocese of Dodoma, which presents two regions of Singida and Dodoma.

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He was born 65 years ago at Mvumi, Ichelema village in Dodoma region.

He says, despite his origin from an extended family, he did not minimize his potential towards achieving his goals.

“I was born in a place or a family where you eat together, no matter how small the the portion of food might be. We grew in peace. Nothing came between us though we were different in other ways,” he recalls.

He went to Mvumi Makulu primary school in 1963, then in 1964 moved to Buigiri primary Chamwino Full Modern School, because his father had left for the place in search of green pastures for his livestock.

Kuwayawaya frankly puts it clear that he never made it to secondary school as he failed in standard seven examinations, and that was in 1969. He made efforts to reseat again, three times but all landing in vain.

However, he says, he was encouraged by a neighbour, whom he did not disclose, to join Tapa schools and study there.

This took some months before leaving for Murutunguru Teachers College in Ukerewe where he attained a certificate, division C on primary option. It was a one-year course.

“After there I was scheduled to go and open a new primary school, Iloje at Chamwino, in 1974. I stayed there until 1977 and then I moved to Ilolo Mpwapwa district,” he tells.

He narrates that he taught various schools within and outside his home region Dodoma.

While teaching, he had begun taking more studies through postal services, and that was in 1979.

He later did a qualifying test while in Bolisa primary and managed to win the race.

In1982, he sat for his form four national examinations and succeeded.

Later in 1984, he sat for form six examinations and managed to acquire the targeted aggregates.

He says while in Mvumi boys, he was selected to go for upgrading from division C to A in Mpwapwa Teachers College, but here he never managed to complete the course as he was expelled from school due to ‘indiscipline.’ He had nurtured his red clothes, so had no uniform like his colleagues. He opted for a diploma in education at Chang’ombe in Dar es Salaam.

In 1986 he dropped teaching and joined University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) where he pursued a bachelor’s degree in law.

A u-turn

After graduating from UDSM, he got a job with Capital Development Authority (CDA) in Dodoma where he worked for some months before throwing a hook in politics.

In 1990, he managed to secure a Member of Parliament seat, presenting Chilonwa district in Dodoma region. During this time, there was no multi-party system. That is to say, he was in Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM).

It is in this period that he got an opportunity to pay a visit in the United States of America to learn all about leadership and integrity. It was an official trip.

“I was requested by Horace Kolimba, Secretary General (by then) to go and learn on how multi-party system works and make a report when back and advise our government and draw a proper hypothesis of a structure consisting of many political parties” he remembers.

Note that during this period of a visit he was still a member of parliament and when he got back, it was his role to submit all that he had attained while away.

He advised Mr Horace on many issues concerning the multi-party system.

However, in the US, he as well managed to meet Andrew Yang (an American philanthropist and a corporate lawyer) in Atlanta, whom, according to him, was a good friend to John Malecela and they had worked together in the United Nations, by then.

“Yang asked me to choose what he could do for me, I chose education. I therefore came back home, submitted the report and went back for studies. I did masters in law that took me about 18 months, from late 1991 to 1992,” he tells.

The senior lawyer says, during his studies in the US, he never remained only on law but opened up his mind.

He would visit some places during his free time.

He adds that his single term of service as a Member of Parliament expired and showed no sign of getting back to politics anymore.

Without giving a clear picture as to why he never got to the battle again, he says it was enough for him.

It was in the US that he again got a free scholarship and did masters of religious education, theology.

“You can imagine, I pursed two Master’s degree at a go and managed to win the race,” he acknowledges.

When he got back home, later in 1992, he registered to pursue a Doctor of Philosophy until 2019 when he was awarded his doctorate degree and also was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy in biblical studies and Canon laws.

Kuwayawaya is a senior lawyer and also a man of God who serves as a Bishop for Anglican Churches of Tanzania representing the Dodoma Diocese.

Balance between Law and Bible

He acknowledges that many people do not get it right when it comes to law, when in the court, it is only ensured that clients, for instance, on advocate, are served fully as per the law.

“We do not resist fighting for our clients so as to secure their legal rights without harassment. We only offer and enlighten our clients on what is, should and will be done either during the hearing or ruling,” he tells.

He reveals that human beings have often failed to distinguish between God’s judgments and laws. Human law is prepared through legal education.

Each state, he says, has its plan and platforms on the law governing it. In other words, law is a science and the art of justice.

“You know, law is a system of rules created and enforced through social or government institutions to regulate behaviour, with its precise defining a matter of longstanding debate,” he outlines.

And when it comes to religion, he says it is a social-cultural system of designated behaviours and practices, morals, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophesies, ethics or organisations, which relates humanity to supernatural or spiritual elements.

The Bishop says, it is in this aspect that holy books are used in courts to prove or disprove an issue.

“My church members understand what I do. In court I do practice my profession while in church, I serve God,” he clears the air

His professional job is done between Monday and Friday. He rests on Saturday in his office, meets his church members and other people.

The following day, on Sunday, attends church.

The red colour

It does not matter where he is, whether at a function or elsewhere. From a tie to his shoes, he is always dressed in red. He began putting on the red clothes immediately after recovering from a knife cut, circumcision.

“My father bought me the red suit to put on after I was circumcised, since then I have never worn any type of a colour. I like red and it is as simple as that,” he concludes.

He admits that most people confuse between his passion for clothing and the Tanzania soccer team, Simba Sports Club.

He says he has and will never be a Simba or Young African’s fan.

“Both teams are bogus, they use foreigners most and that means, watching them playing is the same as switching his television to international stations,” he says.

To the youth

He says the future of the world belongs to the youth, and it is from the youth and not from the old that the fire will warm and enlighten the world.

“It is your privilege to breathe the breath of life into the dry bones of many around you,” he concludes.