By Markson Omagor
(News Editor and Social Critic)
It is no longer a rumour, Honorable Sanjay Tanna is running for the post of NRM Vice Chairman, Eastern Uganda.
Sanjay Tanna is a household name especially in Eastern Uganda. This is so because the Tanna family has made its name doing businesses first in Tororo and now in almost all districts in Eastern Uganda. Tanna’s younger brother, Jay Tanna once represented Eastern Uganda youths ion Parliament.
For starters, Sanjay Tanna was born to Mzee Gokaldas Tanna in April 27, 1973 in Fort Portal town where his father ran a small petrol station. He has grown up, studying in Ugandan schools such as Kitante Primary and Makerere College for his O and A level secondary education.
The Tanna family has never left Uganda even when former President Idi Amin expelled the Indians from Uganda. All Tanna businesses are Ugandan based.
He speaks Luganda, Adhola, Lusoga, Kiswahili, Hindi, and English fluently and is now learning Ateso.
Therefore, Sanjay Tanna is more Ugandan than Indian.
From the time Tanna joined active politics in 2006 emerging victorious as an Independent but NRM leaning Member of Parliament for Tororo Municipality, he has avoided politics of intrigue. He does not believe in confrontational politics and does not keep grudges.
Though Hindu by religion, Tanna has supported both Church of Uganda and the Catholic Church activities especially in Eastern Uganda. The Tan Group of Companies where he is the Executive Director has contributed towards construction of Mosques and Churches in Eastern Uganda. Tanna was a leading contributor and sponsor of Archbishop Emmanuel Obbo of Tororo Archdiocese’s coronation in 2014.
I have also known Tanna as a person who has promoted the National Resistance Movement Party (NRM) not only in Eastern Uganda but in many parts of this country. He for instance in 2006 used his personal finances to campaign for NRM in Busoga region at a time that Rtd. Col. Kizza Besigye had taken the region by storm. He together with the late Noble Mayombo were able to reduce Besigye’s popularity in Busoga.
In 2011, Tanna bought a campaign rig (truck) fully equipped which was used by President Museveni to canvass for votes in Bukedi sub-region.
He did not stop at, while campaigning to retain his seat in Tororo Municipality, Tanna was everywhere in the East campaigning for NRM Flag bearers. Promoting the NRM Party.
Tanna has through his TAN Group of companies participated in helping the needy. The group has made donations to all referral hospitals in Uganda, fed the street children, donated to orphanages, mobilized for blood donations especially for Mbale regional Blood Bank and educated disadvantaged children.
He has also participated in improving household incomes for many families in Eastern Uganda. The Tan group has for instance provided chicks to many women groups, given brick laying machines to youth groups and grinding mills and constructed spring wells for safe water.
Tanna, a two time Member of Parliament for Tororo Municipality has great inter-personal skills and is easily approachable by any person irrespective of social status.
In business terms, Tanna has many businesses in Eastern Uganda employing many youths even now when majority of companies are laying off workers. He has also attracted many investors from India to invest in Uganda.
In my own opinion, we have many indigenous Ugandans who have a lot more money than Tanna but are not as philanthropic as he is.
Speaking to a Daily Monitor journalist in 2014, Tanna was quoted as saying, “Humanity is my faith.” And that indeed summarizes the man Sanjay Tanna.