Footsteps

Wolfango Dourado – 1935-2017

Volume 14, Issue 1  | 
Published 03/07/2017
  |

The sad news of Wolfango Dourado’s passing was received by the world that knew him with much sadness.

Wolfe (as he preferred to be called) was born in 1935 in Zanzibar. After he obtained the Cambridge Overseas School Certificate, first class, he joined the civil service and was posted to the Administrative General’s office where he started at the bottom of the ladder. His thirst for knowledge and hard work soon paid dividends. His talents were recognized and he was offered a Government scholarship to study law at Middle Temple in England. However he refused this offer since he felt that the family came first and since his father had passed away he felt that he was the sole bread winner for his family.

Shortly thereafter, the offer of a scholarship was made yet again, but with a difference. His salary was assured him for the time he was going to be away for the duration of his courses. Wolfe graciously accepted the scholarship and once again because of his keen intellect he was able to graduate from Middle Temple and was called to the bar.

On his return to Zanzibar, Wolfe was offered the position of Administrative General but there was a whole lot in store for him. The Zanzibar Revolution soon broke out and after its success, President Karume elevated him to the position of Attorney General of Zanzibar. This was a time of great challenges for Wolfe but he was able to apply the law with firmness, fairness and yet with humanity.

On one of his trips to the UK the BBC interviewed him. It was at this interview which was subsequently aired on the Overseas Service, Wolfe declared that in international law, the Union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar by Julius Nyerere (the President of Tanganyika) was illegal. Julius Nyerere took this statement as an act of disloyalty and on Wolfe’s return, he had him arrested and put into one of Tanganyika’s most gruesome prisons. He was kept there for months without any charges being brought against him. ‘Amnesty International’ let the world know that Wolfe was a ‘prisoner of conscience’ and invited people particularly in high places to demand Wolfe’s release or bring charges against him. Because of the relentless pressure from the world at large, Wolfe was subsequently released, but prison conditions were so harsh that it left permanent physical scars that Wolfe rarely discussed with anyone.

Shortly thereafter, Julius Nyerere stepped down as President and appointed Ali Hassan Mwinyi, a Zanzibari, as President. As soon as this was done, the new President appointed Wolfe to write a new Constitution for Tanzania with emphasis on converting the State into a multi-party system. Hitherto, Tanzania was run by a one-party government with Julius Nyerere at the head. Wolfe spent many agonizing days and months travelling the world to seek inspiration and direction in order to come up with a Constitution that would be accepted without much acrimony by the politicians at home. The Constitution was finally introduced into Parliament and was passed. Wolfe, in his usual humility will let anyone who would listen that the Constitution was the work of a Committee but it was well known that Wolfe was the catalyst in writing a Constitution that would be found acceptable to people of different political persuasions.

Wolfe was then appointed ‘Judge’ in Zanzibar, and he worked in that capacity until he retired three years ago mainly because of health reasons. Because of his dedication to serve the Government and people of Zanzibar, Wolfe continued to go to work until he was totally incapacitated and was bed ridden.

Wolfe has received many international awards in recognition of his service to his country and to humanity at large. He always treasured the recognition that he was given by Amnesty International for his philosophy ran congruent to the philosophy of that great organization.

Of Wolfe it can be said that he had a deep and abiding faith in his country. He was a brave individual who would give up his life for his principles. He was a soft hearted individual who would reach out ‘mother Theresa-like’ to help anyone who came to him for help. He loved people and felt that he had an obligation to do all that was in his power to improve the human condition not only in his own environment but beyond the shores of Zanzibar.

Last modified on Sunday, 09 July 2017 23:25

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