Tanzania yesterday lost a political heavyweight in Seif Sharif Hamad, popularly known as Maalim Seif, at the age of 77.
News about his death was received in shock, disbelief and with great sadness among leaders and citizens alike.
This was witnessed through messages of condolences that were awash on mainstream media as well as social networks.
President John Magufuli tweeted: “I have received with great sadness the news of the death of Hon Maalim Seif Sharif Hamad, the First Vice President of Zanzibar. I send my condolences to the President of Zanzibar, Hon Dr Mwinyi, family, Zanzibaris, ACT-Wazalendo members and all Tanzanians. May his soul Rest in Peace.”
Announcing, Zanzibar President Hussein Ali Mwinyi said the First Vice President died while receiving treatment at the Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam at around 11am yesterday.
The ACT-Wazalendo party of which he was the national chairman released a press statement saying it was working with the government and family for burial arrangements. Seif has engaged in the politics of Tanzania for most of his life; more strongly after the re-introduction of multiparty politics in Tanzania.
For nearly thirty years, he was a leader and key pillar of Opposition. In all the elections, he vied for the presidency of Zanzibar, most of the time missing the top office by a very small difference.
Hence, he can rightly be said to have been one of the champions of multiparty politics. His extraordinary leadership and life style helped strengthen democracy in Tanzania, making him an inspiration to thousands of Tanzanians.
As a leader, he was always eloquent, calm, humble, sober, fearless, a man of peace and a man who respected the rule of law.
Seif will be remembered for the many treasures he has left Tanzania through his many years of service, particularly, for remaining consistent in what he strongly believed in—creation of a just, pluralistic society.
Let’s honour his legacy by embracing what he believed in--justice and true freedom for all irrespective of their origins and life status.
End sugar shortages
Shortages of sugar supply in Tanzania are still a challenge that needs a lasting solution so that the consumers and the government do not crack the heads about it anymore.
The matter is sensitive in all aspects of live due to the importance of the industry to consumers, producers, the government as well as the sugarcane farmers.
The government has been filling the gap of the sugar supply by allowing importation but recently the Minister for Agriculture compared the matter with drug dealing.
Some sugarcane produces worth about 35,000 tonnes were reportedly destroyed due to lack of enough capacity to process them while the country has shortages.
This challenge will definitely be solved once and for all by simply increasing investment in the sugar production in the country.
The existing factories may expand or other new investors may be invited to build more factories in strategic areas.
Increased production will make Tanzania self-sufficient in sugar and probably look for other potential markets outside the country.
That way, the country will be protecting and possibly increasing jobs in the sugar sub-sector. Tanzania will also do away with the complications and misunderstanding that result from issuing permits to import the product.
Sugar shortages should actually be treated as an investment opportunity to solve it.