In March 2006, Juma V. Mwapachu was in Paris; a few months away from completing his four-year stint as Tanzania’s Ambassador to France, when he received a call from State House telling him that President Jakaya Kikwete needed to see him. Mwapachu quickly bought a ticket and immediately flew home to Dar es Salaam. Upon reporting for duty at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he was informed that there had been a change of plans. Apparently, the President had to travel to Arusha for some urgent matters, so the Ambassador was going to have to go meet him there. Mwapachu turned around, headed to the airport and boarded another flight. At Kilimanjaro Airport, he was received by protocol officers who took him to a hotel where he was going to spend the night, all the while remaining mum as to the reason of his summons. The next morning, a car picked him up and drove him to the Arusha International Conference Centre where the President and his Foreign Minister at the time, Ms. Asha-Rose Migiro, were waiting for him. “Kaka samahani kwa kukuita haraka haraka,” Kikwete told Mwapachu finally, “Lakini I have decided to tell my colleagues, the other Presidents, that you are the Tanzanian candidate for Secretary General of the EAC.” The whole thing took place within the span of five days. But with that, Juma Volter Mwapachu rose to one of the most important diplomatic roles in the region.
Writer: Omar Mohammed
Length: 1893 words
Source: The (Ugandan) Independent
Published: June 10th, 2012