David Paul Kidaha Makwaia, politician and businessman, Ambassador of the United Republic of Tanzania in Bujumbura, Burundi 1969 - 1987
Makwaia's political life unfolded along multiple channels bestriding the worlds of Tanzania's colonial rulers and its local chiefdoms. He succeeded his father as Usiha chief in 1945 and later became "paramount chief" of the Sukuma Federation, an autonomous institution of more than 50 chiefdoms, with its own offices and flag. This won him British recognition as an authoritative native voice - a privilege cemented by his appointment in the same year as the first of two Africans to Tanganyika's Legislative Council (Legico).
Other offices followed. In the course of the 1950s, he served as the only African member of the East African royal commission on land and population, was an unofficial member of the governor's executive council, and a consultant to the colonial government as an administrator in the African aspirations section of the social welfare department.
He was a guest at Queen Elizabeth's coronation in 1953; two years later he was awarded an OBE. He was viewed by the British as a likely president of Tanzania. Along the way, Makwaia underwent a conversion, embracing Roman Catholicism. This reawakening shaped his subsequent sense of mission. Although one of the most influential chiefs in East Africa, he was not driven by the need for power, but had always considered himself a servant of the people.
As the winds of independence gathered steam, he facilitated the political rise of his long-time college friend Julius Nyerere by winning him British support as well as by securing the allegiance of Sukuma chiefs to Nyerere's party, Tanu (Tanganyika African National Union). As prime minister, later president of independent Tanganyika, Nyerere repaid Chief Kidaha, as he was known, by abolishing the role of chiefs, and banishing him for some months to the remote Tunduru district of the Southern Province for undisclosed reasons. This experience alienated him from politics forever, prompting him to turn his energies to private business and religious pursuits.
In the 1960s and 1970s, he served as managing director of Market Research (T) Ltd, and was appointed public relations officer of the Nairobi-based East African Railways and Harbours administration. Upon his retirement in 1975, he moved to the northern Tanzanian town of Moshi, where he operated a private insurance agency. Active in local religious affairs, he founded the Moshi chapter of the Order of Franciscans.
At the time of his death, Chief Kidaha had resumed the leadership of the Sukuma community from his late brother Hussein, and was active in preserving Sukuma cultural legacies. He was buried at Ibadakuli in Shinyanga, the site of his state house during the heyday of his chiefdom. Most people who met the chief commented on his charismatic yet welcoming presence. He was proud of having fulfilled his promise to his father to ensure all his 43 siblings were properly educated.