Joseph Sinde Warioba was born on September 3, 1940 in Bunda in the Ikizu village of Musoma district in Mara, Tanzania, going to primary school at Nyamuswa and then to secondary school at Bwiru in Mwanza. He enrolled at University College Dar es Salaam (UCD) of the-then University of East Africa in 1963 and graduated with a Bachelor of Laws in 1966. Enrolling at the College in the third cohort of a three-year programme of study was quite an experience for him and a few of his Tanzanian compatriots. It was a time of a delicate transition from a deep past of colonialism into a formative future of national independence and dispensation. Warioba’s university-student life was one of the most illustrious experiences of any promising young leader-in-formation of his time. In 1959, while a senior secondary student at Bwiru—indeed two years before independence—Warioba was elected a member to the committee of one of the main student organisat0ionsactive in East Africa called ‘Pan-African Student Association (PASAT)’. It was one among student organisations at Makerere College, then under the University of London. Thus, by the time he formally entered University in 1963 for his first year, he already was attending PASAT meetings at Makerere. In the same year of his university admission at UCD in 1963, a parallel student organisation TUSA [Tanganyika University Student Association], which was more nationalistically inclination, was formed—to which Joseph Warioba was also elected a first Secretary General. TUSA was to connect Tanganyikan students at the three campuses of the University of East Africa in Dar es Salaam, Makerere and Nairobi. In 1965, Warioba was yet again ‘chased’ by Providence in order for election for presidency of the National Union of Tanzania Students (NAUTS). This was an association of campus students who, at a delicate moment of their country’s diplomacy, had decided to demonstrate on the streets of Dar es Salaam against unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) by Rhodesia under Ian Smith, and without a permit from Government. He remembers:
Mwalimu [Nyerere] had us arrested and many of us were locked up for a time at Central Police Station. Later we were taken to State House to meet him. At the meeting he gently explained that we had not been arrested for protesting against Rhodesian unilateral independence, but because we had broken the law by demonstrating without a permit, and that we had caused some damage. He said no further action would be taken against us, but asked that we apologise on his behalf to the British government for the damage we had caused to British property. ... (Warioba, P25,27 Warioba.indd.pdf).
Among the several historical reminiscences that this story may give is the portrayal of the kind of valiant positions in which Joseph Warioba, in his youth, could place himself as a leader of vision. There cannot be any doubt that the now-retired statesman finds time to reflect?with a sigh of satisfaction?on those momentous times of the history of his own nation and also of the role he himself played towards nation building. But above all, it will also be said, as do his old school and college mates do remember, that as a student he was one of the resolutely ‘free-speaking yet principled, frank and articulate persons’ - a trait he has come to live up to his graced age.
Upon graduation in 1966, he served as state attorney in the Attorney General’s Chambers for two years, 1966-1968, becoming a city solicitor with the Dar es Salaam City Council for another two years, 1968-1970. In 1970, he attended the Hague Academy of International Law, a world centre for high-level education in both public and private international law that is housed in the Peace Palace in The Hague, the Netherlands. From 1971 to1975 he served as divisional director in the Ministry of Justice. From 1976 to 1983, he served as the attorney general of Tanzania, after which he became a member of parliament and was appointed Minister of Justice. In 1985, he became Prime Minister and, at the same time, Second Vice-President until 1990. After his tenure as prime minister, he was appointed as a judge on the Hamburg-based inter-governmental International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) for three years up to 1999. In 1996, he was appointed by President Benjamin William Mkapa to serve as Chairman of the Presidential Commission against Government Corruption, frequently better known as the Warioba Commission. In November 2016, Judge Warioba was appointed by President John Pombe Joseph Magufuli as Chancellor of Sokoine University of Agriculture in Morogoro.
A widely travelled professional, Judge Warioba attended or else helped organise quite a number of international and regional consultations and meetings, including the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Conference in Paris, France (1966), the Refugee Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (1967), the Law of Treaties Conference in Vienna, Austria (1968-1969), the Organization of African Unity Council of Ministers in Addis Ababa (1968), the Human Rights Conference in Tehran, Iran (1968), the United Nations General Assembly, intermittently from 1971-1981, the Organization of African Unity Summits, intermittently from 1972-1984, and a number of Law of the Sea Conferences in years between 1971 and 1982. He was Chairman for the United Nations’ preparatory communications for the Convention on the Law of the Sea (1983-1986).
A highly disciplined public leader and professional, Justice Warioba has often been asked by the Tanzanian governments to help lead investigations into perplexing issues in society and to dig deep to find out the truth so as to offer a candid opinion. He has obliged. It just happens, in the course of some such missions, that once he told the truth, based on scientific investigation, his appointers might sometimes become uneasy with the stark findings and truths, and hesitant about proposed recommendations. On his part, he has himself never responded in public regarding such encounters; he would quietly remain a ‘faithful servant.’
Judge Warioba did serve the University of Dar es Salaam as President of the Convocation as well as Vice-Chairman of the University Council for 15 years from 2003-2018. The University and the whole community of the University’s graduates will hardly forget the long-lasting and rewarding association they have had with him. May it be added, in appreciation, that Justice Warioba is one of the few alumni who have recently sent in their contributions towards the on-going construction of the University of Dar es Salaam Student Centre? The University fully acknowledges his proactive consideration.