Tributes continue to pour in for Tanzania’s Former President, Benjamin Mkapa. President Cyril Ramaphosa is the latest leader to send a message of condolences to the government and the people of Tanzania.
President Ramaphosa has praised former president Mkapa as being a visionary African leader.
“An exceptional peace broker leading several peace mediation processes in Africa. He was a revolutionary at heart and formidable leader championing peace, integration and economic development in East Africa and Southern Africa,” he says.
President Ramaphosa also recalled the words of the late struggle icon, President Nelson Mandela in his address to President Mkapa in his 1998 visit to Tanzania where he said, “The struggle for our liberation was one that you made your own, not in any distant way but as freedom fighters sharing the sacrifices and the dangers. You gave us a home away from home when we most needed it.”
President Ramaphosa underscored the important role played by Mkapa, particularly how he supported and encouraged sanctions against apartheid South Africa for their occupation of Namibia at the United Nations and on the international stage.
Mkapa was then Tanzania’s Foreign Minister and a close ally to South Africa’s struggle movement.
“The people of South Africa will always have warm recollections of the life of former president Mkapa, for the role that he played not only in South Africa but also on the African continent,” the South African President says.
African Union Commission Chair, Moussa Faki Mahamat has described him as a peacekeeper in the East African region.
Mkapa was Tanzania’s third president who served from 1995 to 2005.
In the file video below, Vuyo Mvoko speaks to Mkapa:
His legacy is one that showcases his commitment to Africa’s independence as well as achieving peace and stability on the continent. Mkapa was vocal about the atrocities in countries like Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa.
His death was announced by President John Magufuli, saying he died at a Dar es Salaam Hospital where he was receiving treatment.
“We have suffered a great loss, our old man, the third President of Tanzania Benjamin Mkapa has passed on. We will give you more details later but Mkapa is gone,” he said.
Magufuli also declared a seven-day mourning period. During this time, all flags in the country will be flown at half-mast. Leaders in the East African region hailed him for his work as a peacebuilder.
Mkapa was part of the team that negotiated Kenya’s peace and reconciliation following the 2007/8 post-election violence in which more than 1 000 people were killed.
Most recently, he presided over the Burundi peace talks after the country’s former President Pierre Nkurunziza ran for a controversial third term, which led to renewed fighting in the country.