A SOMBRE mood reigned at Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre (JNICC) in Dar es Salaam yesterday, as hundreds of mourners paid their glowing tributes to a fallen business mogul and inspirational figure, Ali Mufuruki.
The deceased, who was subsequently buried at Kisutu graveyard, died on Sunday while undergoing treatment in South Africa.
Family members, relatives, business partners, close friends, leaders and other private sector players gave tributes to the departed key figure who impacted the society immensely in business and entrepreneurship spheres.
Dignitaries in attendance included former president Benjamin Mkapa, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’ Office (Investment), Ms Angellah Kairuki, former prime minister Joseph Warioba and former minister for industry and trade, Mr Charles Mwijage Others were former CCM secretary general Abdulrahman Kinana, and Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Vice-President’s Office (Union and Environment), Mr Joseph Sokoine.
The late Mufuruki, who was born on 15th November 1958, is survived by a widow and four children. Delivering condolences on behalf of the government, Ms Kairuki said the late Mufuruki was a man who stood for his thoughts and presented to the government ideas for the betterment of the business environment and private sector operations in the country.
He not only invested in capital but also in people’s hearts... he was at the frontline in advising on business and investment, particularly on policies and laws, she said.
In his business life, he nurtured many people into successful business men and women. “We will continue to value his contribution to investments... his thoughts that aimed at strengthening the private sector,” the minister said.
As the government currently implements the industrialisation policy, he was the co-author of a book titled ‘Tanzania Industrialisation journey’, for which the minister said people should remember him.
Sketching Mufuruki’s profile, Ambassador (rtd) Ami Mpungwe described him as an intelligent person who possessed wisdom and patriotism.
“Whatever Ali achieved came out of his hard work and intelligence,” Ambassador Mpungwe said. On his part, Adil Mufuruki, a younger brother to the late Mufuruki, explained that his brother started developing interest in business since his childhood when he was helping his parents in doing business.
He ventured into business from the 1980s after completing his studies. “At family level, being our brother, we depended on him for providing ideas, thoughts and guidelines.
He was strong. His demise is a big blow to us,” he explained, adding: “One of the big lessons I have learnt from him is patience and the ability to build good relations with fellow Tanzanians and people of other nationalities.” Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, whose tribute was read by Ambassador Dr Martin Kimani, said one of Mr Mufuruki’s biggest legacies in Africa was his co-founding of the Africa Leadership Initiative Fellowship, which is a leadership and mentorship programme since 2002.
The programme has over the years prepared hundreds of people in the continent who have now acquired key positions in public and private sectors. Chairman of the CEO Roundtable, Mr Sanjay Rughani, described him as a corporate leader, intelligent and impatient as well as a mentor and coach.
“Ali was a very great story teller. He was a champion in driving good leadership,” he said. For 30 years, the late Mufuruki has been imparting his ideas and thoughts in different boards of directors.
He has been chairman and member of 30 boards for different institutions and companies, including Bank of Tanzania, Muhimbili University of Allied Sciences (MUHAS), Mwananchi Communications Ltd (MCL), Vodacom and recently the President John Magufuli appointed him chair of the National Environment Trust Fund.