Tanzania’s former President Benjamin William Mkapa, 81, has died, President John Magufuli made the announcement on Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) on July 24, saying Mkapa died at a Dar es Salaam Hospital where he was receiving treatment.
“I call on all Tanzanians to receive the news of his death and to pray for Mzee Mkapa. More information will be released but Mzee Mkapa is no more,” he said in the brief television statement.
Dr Magufuli also declared a seven-day mourning period. During this time, all flags in the country will be flown at half-mast.
Mkapa was the third president since Independence and led Tanzania from 1995 to 2005 before handing over to Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete.
Before becoming the president, Mkapa served at different capacities as a journalist, administrative officer, as minister for science, technology and higher education. He also served as the minister of foreign affairs from 1977 to 1980 and again from 1984 to 1990.
Mkapa was was elected president in 1995 based on a popular anti-corruption campaign and the strong support of the founding President Julius Nyerere.
He was born on November 12, 1938.
The former president is known for leading peace mediation efforts in the region, including taking part in Kenya’s post-election conciliation exercise in 2008. He was part of the Panel of Eminent African Personalities, led by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, which ended the post-election violence after the highly disputed December 27, 2007 elections.
Mkapa, whose latest work is a memoir ‘My Life, My Purpose’ had also served as Foreign Minister, Minister for Information, Editor of the Government newspapers, and Ambassador to Canada.