Tanzania’s Defence Minister Kwandikwa has died

Elias Kwandikwa
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Tanzanian Defence Minister Elias Kwandikwa has died, President Samia Suluhu Hassan said on Tuesday.

She said in a statement that Kwandikwa was a courageous leader who carried out his duties in accordance with the rules and regulations.

She received news of Kwandikwa’s death while she was on a two-day working visit in Rwanda aimed at strengthening ties between the two neighbouring countries.

The cause of his death has not yet been disclosed.

Daily newspaper The Citizen reported that he died on Monday night at a hospital in the capital Dar es Salaam while undergoing medical treatment.

Kwandikwa, 55, was the member of parliament for Ushetu Constituency in Shinyanga Region.

He was appointed as defence minister by late president John Magufuli in December 2020 until his death.

He served as deputy minister of works, transport and communications until October 2017.

According to Kenya-based online news outlet Tuko.co.ke, Kwandikwa was an active member of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) since 1991, when he served as a member of the party’s central committee.

He held several positions in the CCM youth wing at the local, regional and national levels.

In 2015, he contested in the parliamentary race for the Ushetu Constituency on the CCM political party ticket and won.

According to media reports, Kwandikwa is the first high-ranking politician in Tanzania to die since Samia assumed power in March following the death of her predecessor, Magufuli.

Magufuli died from heart complications at a hospital in Dar es Salaam.

He was one of Africa’s most prominent coronavirus sceptics, having declared that Tanzania had defeated the coronavirus and called for prayers.

African News Agency (ANA)