Dodoma – Tanzania’s Minister of Constitutional and Legal Affairs Augustine Philip Mahiga has died at age 74, Africa Tembelea has learnt.
In a statement from the Directorate of Presidential Communications dated Friday May 1, it was announced that Dr. Mahiga had died suddenly at his home in Dodoma.
“By the time he was taken to hospital, he had passed away,” said the statement.
Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli sent condolences to the grieving family and parliament. He described the late Dr. Mahiga as a humble man.
“Despite all high government positions he held, he remained a humble person in his life,” said President Magufuli.
Mahiga was a career diplomat who previously served as Tanzania’s permanent representative at the United Nations. He also served as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia.
After his retirement, he joined the race for the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) presidential nomination ticket in 2015, which he lost to Dr. Magufuli.
Dr. Mahiga’s death follows that of two other MPs who have passed on in the last 10 days. They include Sumve MP Richard Ndassa aged 61 who died in Dodoma on Wednesday this week, and MP Reverend Gertrude Rwakatare, who died in Dar es Salaam on April 20.
Ndassa’s death after a short illness, prompted Tanzanian Speaker of Parliament Job Ndugai to suspend parliamentary sessions.
This latest news comes at a time when the number of COVID-19 cases continue to soar in Tanzania. As of Wednesday, Tanzania had reported a total of 480 cases of COVID-19 and 16 deaths.
Some sections of Tanzanians condemn President Magufuli for defying safety measures outlined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) amid the COVID-19 crisis. Magufuli refused to close churches despite calls from medical experts and the Tanzanian public.