By DailyNewsUG Regional News Correspondent,
Former Tanzania President Benjamin Mkapa has died. According to President Magufuli, the former leader had been ailing and admitted to a hospital in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam.
As citizen news website reports Announcing the sad news on Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) July 24, President Magufuli said Mr. Mkapa died at a Dar eS Salaam Hospital where he was admitted.
“Mzee Benjamin William Mkapa the third President of Tanzania has died at a Dar es Salaam
the hospital where he was admitted” announced President Magufuli.
“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” said Dr. Magufuli in a brief television
Mkapa was born on November 12, 1938. He held the high office from 23 November 1995 – 21 December 2005. He was a member of the CCM Party. He was preceded by Ali Hassan Mwinyi and succeeded by Jakaya Kikwete.
After assuming the reins of government, Mkapa emphasized the deregulation of the economy through increased production to widen the tax base and the implementation of strict revenue collection. He was quoted in World Statesman as saying, “We… recognize that the government has no business on the eve of 21st century to be in business,” and urged the parliament to ratify legislation covering the sale of the National Bank of Commerce (NBC)—the country’s biggest state-owned commercial bank. Mkapa advocated such restructuring since the World Bank was withholding $125 million as a punitive measure to spur quicker compliance with their recommendations.
In addition to alleviating economic stagnation, Mkapa vowed to stamp out corruption. To that end, he established an Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate and give their recommendations to him in 1997. The same year, Mkapa received much praise when he voluntarily made full disclosure of his assets, including those of his spouse. He also urged other officials to follow suite—a “first” in the continent where so often the few rich are those in government, and the majority has little hope of striking much beyond the poverty level.
Biography of William Mkapa
Mr. Mkapa was born on 12 November 1938, Masasi (Tanzania). In 1962 he got a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Makerere University College in Uganda. Benjamin Mkapa worked as a civil servant in the district of Dodoma and Dar es Salaam, which united with Zanzibar in 1963 to form present-day Tanzania. In August of 1962, he was recruited for Exterior Services and four years later he specialized in journalism as the editor of the daily governmental Tanzania Nationalism and Uhuru (1966).
Previously he worked for the Daily News and the Sunday News (1972). In July of 1974, he was appointed Secretary of Press for President Julius Nyerere, and in July of 1976, he launched the Tanzania News Agency (Shihata).
Benjamin Mkapa was a member of the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU)since the beginning of the 1960s.Named High Commissioner to Nigeria in 1976, Mr. Mkapa also occupied a number of important government posts in the late 1970s and 1980s, serving the political party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM, State Revolutionary Party) in the areas of Foreign Affairs, Information and Culture, Information and Broadcasting as well as Science, Technology, and Higher Education.
He was also the High Commissioner in Nigeria (1976), Canada (1982), and the United States Ambassador (1983-1984), all the while belonging to the “Bunge” or Parliament since 1985.
In 1987 Mr. Mkapa became an elected member to the central committee of the Revolutionary Party of Tanzania. In November 1995, Mr. Mkapa won the first democratic elections in Tanzania, as a candidate for the CCM. During his first term, he continued the economic liberalization program initiated by his predecessor, Ali Hassan Mwinyi. In the 2000 elections, Mkapa was elected for a second term which concluded at the end of 2005.
In 2005, he was a member of the Panel of Eminent Persons appointed by the UNCTAD Secretary-General to review and enhance the role of UNCTAD within the United Nations reforms.
In 2006, he served as a member of the High-level Panel on UN System-wide Coherence in areas of Development, Humanitarian Assistance, and Environment, appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General. President Mkapa was appointed in 2006 to be Patron of the UN committee of 2008 International Year of Planet Earth.
In September 2010, President Mkapa was appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to lead a special panel to monitor the January 2010 referendum in Southern Sudan. In 2015 he was appointed to facilitate the Burundi Dialogue amid the crisis that sparkled over the third term of late President Pierre Nkurunziza.