The East African Network for Environmental Compliance & Enforcement (EANECE) and INECE pay tribute to Dr. Robert Ntakamulenga who passed away on 20th April 2015. Dr. Robert, as he was popularly known, was the Chair-Designate of the EANECE Executive Committee and Director of Compliance and Enforcement at the National Environment Council (NEMC), Tanzania. He was a Lead Trainer among EANECE’s team of trainers and was at the forefront in the delivery of many training courses in East Africa on environmental compliance and enforcement in partnership with INECE and the US EPA. As a trainer, Dr. Robert had a special way of keeping his audience attentive. His signature phrases like “Are you still with me?”, or “Are we together?’’ will forever remain in our memories.
Dr. Robert had a distinguished career in public service spanning 38 years in the fields of public health, environmental management, compliance and enforcement. At the time of his demise, he was the Director of Compliance and Enforcement at Tanzania's National Environment Management Council (NEMC), a position he held from July 2007 till the time of his demise. As Director of Compliance and Enforcement, Dr. Robert oversaw major enforcement actions against environmental violators in Tanzania. He was a fearless enforcer of environmental law and believed strongly in the rule of law as the path to sustainable development. Dr. Robert was a great leader in Tanzania and throughout the East Africa region on environmental governance and rule of law.
Dr. Robert's career dates back to 1977 when he started out as a Health Officer in-charge of Ulyankulu Refugee Settlement in Tanzania, later becoming the District Health Officer in Urambo District. Between 1980 - 2005 he held various teaching positions in leading institutions in Tanzania, including: Vice-Principal, Mpanda Health Assistants’ School; Principal, Tanga Vector Control Training Centre; Tutor, Dar es Salaam School of Hygiene; and Lecturer, Muhimbili University Of Health Sciences. He joined NEMC in 2006 as a Principal Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Officer, later rising to the position of Director of Compliance & Enforcement.
Among other positions that Dr. Robert held at the time of his demise are: Secretary General, Tanzania Health Officer's Association; Member, Environmental Health Practitioners Registration Board; Member, Chemical Emergency Response Committee of the Tanzania Government Chemist Laboratory Agency; Member, Chemical Registration Committee of the of the Government Chemist Laboratory Agency; Member, National Advisory Committee on Plague Control; Member, National Advisory Committee on Multi-Sectorial Health Policy on the Prevention and Control of Vectors and Vector-borne Diseases; Member, Food Technical Committee of the Tanzania Foods and Drugs Authority; Member, Environmental Management Standards Divisional Committee of the Tanzania Bureau of Standards.
Dr. Robert was born on 17th April 1956 in Murukurazo Village, Ngara District, Kagera Region, Tanzania. He earned his PhD in Environmental Sanitation at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark in 2003. He held a Masters of Science in Tropical Public Health Engineering from the University of Leeds, United Kingdom. He also held an Advanced Diploma in Public Health Engineering from Ardhi University, Dar-es-Salaam and a Diploma in Environmental Health Sciences from the School of Hygiene, University of Dar-es –Salaam.
Dr. Robert was laid to rest on 4th May, 2015 at his birthplace in Murukurazo, Ngara District, Tanzania. His untimely demise is a great loss not only to the INECE and EANECE family but also to the international community of compliance and enforcement practitioners.
“Dr. Robert will be remembered as one of the foremost and steadfast supporters of EANECE. He was a strong believer in good environmental governance as the path to sustainable development. He always stressed the need for common approaches in tackling environmental issues in the East Africa region.” – Gerry Opondo, EANECE Secretariat
“Despite the many challenges facing NEMC, Dr. Robert's work, attitude and leadership have always provided inspiration and hope that progress is possible. It's a grave and untimely loss for environmental protection in Africa and beyond” – Nick Hepworth, Water Witness International