"The Commonwealth's worldwide community of parliaments has learned today of the sudden passing of the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Dr William F. Shija. The Commonwealth at large shares in a sense of enormous sadness and loss," Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma said.
"Dr Shija served the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association with commitment, and with an enduring enthusiasm for its potential always to do more for its members and for the citizens of the Commonwealth at the grassroots level whom parliamentarians represent.
"Dr Shija was elected eight years ago to the post of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Secretary-General, almost to the day, at the 2006 Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference, and has since served the CPA with great distinction. The Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference is meeting once more this week in Yaounde, Cameroon, where the membership at large will be united in its collective sadness and tribute to Dr Shija's service.
"The Commonwealth Secretariat — and I personally — had a very rewarding and collaborative partnership with William in strengthening the work of Commonwealth parliaments, where the heart of democracies beats. I recall our common endeavour in serving the citizens of the Commonwealth with warmth and gratitude.
"Dr Shija was a former parliamentarian and Minister in the Government of Tanzania. He was also a family man, and the Commonwealth joins in extending our heartfelt condolences to his wife Getruda and five children and all those who loved and held him dear," Mr Sharma said.