Tanzania’s Defence Minister Dies at 55

Tanzania’s Minister of Defence and National Service, Elias Kwandikwa, is dead.

Kwandikwa, who is also a former Deputy Minister of Works, Transport and Communications, died on Monday night in the capital Dar es Salaam, the presidency said on Tuesday.

“We have lost an important person whose contribution to the public service will not be forgotten. He was a strong leader who was implementing his duties in accordance with the law and regulations,” the presidency said in a condolence statement.

It, however, did not state the cause of death.

The 55-year-old was appointed Minister of Defence by late President John Magufuli during his second term on December 05, 2020.

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He is the first high-ranking official in Tanzania to die since President Samia Suluhu Hassan assumed power in March following the death of Magufuli.

Executive secretary of the Southern African Development Community, Stargomena Tax, described the late minister as a man that made a significant contribution to fighting violent extremism in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique.

“We have received with great sadness the news of his passing, may the almighty God rest his soul in eternal peace” she tweeted.

Kwandikwa, who was a member of parliament for the Ushetu constituency in the Shinyanga region, was born on July 1, 1966.

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