Dar es Salaam. High profile leaders from across the world are paying tribute to Tanzania’s third phase president Benjamin Mkapa who passed away in the early hours of Friday, July 24 while receiving treatment at an undisclosed hospital in Dar es Salaam.
The US Embassy in Dar es Salaam said in a tweet that the late former President Mkapa worked tirelessly to ensure peace and social welfare to people from all walks of life. “His contribution will not be forgotten,” said the Embassy.
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta sent a message of condolences to President John Joseph Magufuli, the people of Tanzania and the family of the late former President Benjamin Mkapa.
Kenyatta mourned the departed Tanzanian leader as an “outstanding East African who worked tirelessly for the integration, peace and progress of the region.”
UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima described Mkapa as “tireless champion for peace and an #AIDS free Africa.”
Mkapa who was aged 81, served as the third phase President of Tanzania from 1995 to 2005.
The passing of Mkapa was announced by President John Magufuli on national television. Magufuli declared seven days of mourning during which all flags will be flown at half-mast.
He said, "I will remember him for his great love for the nation, his faithfulness, hard work and performance in building the economy," said Magufuli.
Retired President of Kenya Mwai Kibaki said the departed Tanzania leader distinguished himself as one of the most reputable peace brokers in the region.
“A revolutionary at heart whose efforts to deregulate Tanzania’s economy marked the beginning of a new dawn in his country, the late Mkapa—a close ally of Tanzania’s founding President Mwalimu Julius Nyerere—distinguished
himself as one of the most reputable peace brokers in the region.
“In his retirement, Benjamin Mkapa, at some point or other, mediated peace talks in South Sudan, the DRC Congo, Zimbabwe, Burundi and Kenya. He, no doubt, valued and worked towards a more tranquil Africa,” said Kibaki in his condolence message.
ODM Party leader Raila Odinga mourned Mkapa as a great friend of the Kenyan people, a pan-Africanist, a true believer in South-South Cooperation and a global statesman.
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“Mkapa believed in Regional Integration and championed the revival of the East Africa Community. In his death, Africa has lost a giant,” said Odinga.
Tanzania’s Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan said the passing of Mkapa is a big blow to the nation.