UDSM’s search for its ‘Alumnus of the Month’ for June 2022 landed on George Huruma Mkuchika, a man who over a considerably long period of six decades has been associated with several fields and niches of public service in Tanzania. Currently one of the senior and ‘elder’ officials in government, Mr Mkuchika is a retired army captain and a career ministerial ‘fellow’. Throughout his career, he has combined qualities of a trained educator, a military cadre, and a government strategist for effective and morally-driven human resources for public deployment. He is known to have played these roles well and dutifully.
He was born on 6th October 1948 in Newala district, in the southern region of Mtwara. He had his early school education in the same district, first at Nambunga Primary School, for Standards I-IV from 1956 to 1959, and at Mnyamba Middle School, for Standards V-VIII from 1959 to 1963. In 1964, he entered St. Joseph College Chidya, in Masasi district, for junior secondary (or ‘O-level’) education of Form 1-4) after which he obtained the Certificate of Secondary Education Examination in 1967. On passing the ‘O’-level exams, he was selected for the-then Lutheran high school at Ilboru in Arusha, where he won his Advanced Certificate of Secondary Education Examination (ACSEE) in 1969.
George Huruma was admitted to the University of Dar es Salaam in 1970 for undergraduate study in the-then Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. In combination with other social science disciplines, he took Education with a view to becoming a professional educator. He completed the three-year undergraduate programme in 1973, earning a B.A (with Education) degree. Upon graduating from the University, however, he got an appointment by the ruling party (Tanganyika African National Union, TANU/Chama cha Mapinduzi, CCM) as a TANU/CCM Youth League
Secretary at the Head Office. He served in that position for five years (1973-78). In the wake of the outbreak of the 1978 war provoked by Idi Amin Dada Oumee of Uganda and on the favourable recommendation from the Party Mr. Mkuchika joined the national army (the Tanzania People’s Defence Force) to serve in the war. He performed so well in the ‘Kagera War’, rising to a Company Commander, for which he was awarded a national ‘Nishani ya Vita ya Kagera’ honour. After the war, in 1979, he returned to service with the Party as a District Executive Secretary (19791981). From that time onwards, he had a steadily rising career within the Party and Government. He rose to the position of Regional Executive Secretary in the Party (1981-1983) and then to District Commissioner within the system of Regional Administration and Local Government for four years from 1983 to 1997. In 1997, he was appointed Regional Commissioner for Tanga, where he served for eight active years from 1997 to 2005.
In 2005 he successfully contested for election to a parliamentary seat for the Newala constituency, after which he has had four consecutive five-year terms of parliamentary representation of his Newala Urban constituency, namely 2005-2010, 2010-2015, 2015-2020 and 2020-2025. As an MP, Captain Mkuchika has served on several parliamentary committees, including the Defence and Security Committee (2006-2008) as its Vice-Chairman, the Foreign Affairs, Security and Defence
Committee (2015-2018) and the Privileges, Ethics and Powers Committee (20162017) as its Chairman. Previously, he had been appointed as Minister of Information, Culture and Sports, serving in this position from 13 February 2008 to 28 November 2010. From 28 November 2010 up to 7 May 2012, he had served as Minister in the PM’s Office for
Regional Administration and Local Government and, subsequently, as Minister of State in the President’s Office for special duties (7th May 2012 to 7th October 2017). From 7th October 2017, Captain (Rtd). Mkuchika was appointed Minister of State in the President’s Office responsible for Public Service Management and Good Governance, serving in that position for four years until 2021. Since 2021, he has been appointed as Minister without Portfolio within the President’s Office, responsible for special duties.
Captain Mkuchika’s civil and political experience has been quite extensive, ranging from a TANU/CCM Youth League Secretary at Party headquarters (1973-1979), to CCM District Executive Secretary (1979-1981), to CCM Regional Executive Secretary (1981-1983), to Member of the National Executive Committee (20022017), to Deputy Secretary General of CCM on the Mainland (2007-2011) and finally Member of the highest-ranking National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Party (2002-2017). Throughout his political career, he has taken seriously the issue of political pluralism for national harmony and inclusive social development. As he put it back in 2012 at a good governance review forum in Arusha,
Although many African countries have met minimal democratic requirements, the main challenge they currently face is to strengthen democratic institutions so that they may be more effective, efficient and responsive while promoting democratic pluralism, competitive politics and tolerance.
The University of Dar es Salaam appreciates such a record of cross-field feats as he has demonstrated which serves to define the kind of sound political wisdom and counsel for men and women of dedicated service tomorrow. Bravo Captain Mkuchika!