15 January 2007
A website carrying her name recounts how Dr.Asha-Rose Migiro received the decision to appoint her as U.N. Deputy
Two Calls one from President Jakaya Kikwete and another from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon changed Dr.
Asha-Rose Migiro's life.
Dr. Migiro was on Friday, chairing a meeting in Lesotho’s capital Maseru, when she suddenly received a phone
call from her boss, President Kikwete, in Dar es Salaam, She walked out to answer the call.
The President was brief and up to point: The Secretary General of the UN wanted her to call him immediately
because he want to make an announcement within two hours with regard to the appointment of his Deputy.
She phoned New York there and then, but the Secretary-General had gone into a meeting, so she left a message with
his aides, and shortly afterward they phoned her back.
Ban Ki-Moon was also brief and up to the point; he told her from their experience as Minister for Community
Development Gender and Children, and also from her experience in the current position as Minister for Foreign
Affairs and International Co-operation, he had decided she was a suitable and qualified candidate to assume the
position of Deputy Secretary General of the UN.
Then the Secretary-General asked her: "Tell me if you are willing to accept the offer because I have to make an
announcement immediately." Almost of if in disbelief, Dr. Migiro accepted the offer, and the Secretary-General
congratulated her. That was the end of the short trans-Atlantic telephone conversation which in a sudden quark of
fate completely transformed her life.
Excited and tense, the minister came back to her present circumstance and almost forced herself to walk back into
the conference room to assume talks between Lesotho Political parties-posing as if nothing transfixing had happened,
which was the most difficult part, given the issue at hand.
And that was how Dr. Migiro received the news of her appointment to the world body’s number two position late
Friday afternoon -- a position which had catapulted her in to the real centre of world attention and diplomatic
activity that touches the entire globe.
Despite the dozens of telephone calls coming through to her, she received the news. When I phoned her, the
first thing was a long laugh and she said she had been questioning herself whether she was going to manage the
job and if so -- how? That’s was on Friday night.
But yesterday the minister, exulting total confidence nitrated events leading to her appointment. First she
had only met the Secretary-General as former Foreign Minister of South Korea when he was welcoming guest to a
dinner party during the recent visit of President Kikwete’s Visit to Korea.
Apart from the official talks they had held, there was no further communication between the two ministers.
After Ban’s appointment as UN Secretary-General, Tanzania’s Mission at the UN contacted president Kikwete with
a request that Dr. Migiro send in her CV for the position of Deputy Secretary General. She did and just forgot
about the CV and the position, assuming she might get it or not.
She told me yesterday that when the President phoned her, she at first thought it was probably related to the
late Juma Akukweti’s Body transportation arrangements of which she had also been involved in before she come here
on Thursday evening en-route to Maseru -- Only to find that it was about something completely different.
Dr. Migiro, is an academic who excelled well above other students, being the first woman to get first class honor for her Law degree course at the university of Dar es salaam in 1980.
Report say there has not been another female student who has broken her record throughout the history for law faculty which started in 1961.
Following her high-class performance, she was immediately recruited by the Faculty as a tutorial assistant as she pursued her LLM degree ending with a LLD which she did In West Germany at that time.
She came back to full time teaching at the University where she rose to a senior lecturer, before she veered into politics in the 2000 general elections.
She sailed in through the Women’s special seats ticket which had been proposed by the women’s organization UWT in order to expand women’s representation in Parliament.
She won the entered Bunge after which she was immediately appointed to the position of Minister for Community Development, Gender and Children, changing to the Foreign Minister portfolio after the 2005 elections.
Recalling her interest in politics, she explained that at the law Faculty, under the tutelage of Professors Iss shivji and Mgongo Fimbok she had learnt to give free legal aid to women children and poor generally which slowly became a passion which would later change her direction, culmination into fully fledged politician now tackling issues at higher levels.
And what does she feel she can contribute in the UN system at the top leadership position as the first African
Woman Deputy Secretary General. Dr. Migiro feels the UN is now undergoing a transformation and has to deal with
changing challenges globally.
"Being and African, I have firsthand experience of situations facing Africa and developing countries in general. I
will use this experience to contribute in effecting development changes on the global level." Indeed it is in global
level that she will now serve.
In Dar es salaam, almost the entire cabinet was on the airport to receive the body of the former colleague Juma Akukweti when President Kikwete summoned them into an inner room where he announced Dr. Migiro new appointment. For a moment everyone forgot that they were in somber state and clapped hands and saluted for the lady who will no doubt, place Tanzania in the world centre stage.