Tanzania’s President John Magufuli has confirmed former President Benjamin Mkapa, who served from 1995 to 2005, died in the early hours of Friday, reported Reuters.
Magufuli said Mkapa died while receiving treatment at a hospital in Dar es Salaam. He was born on November 12, 1938, in Ndanda, southern Tanzania, and is survived by 3 three children and his spouse Anna Mkapa.
The East African nation’s third president led Tanzania from 1995 to 2005 before handing over to Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete.
Mr. Mkapa is known for leading several 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. He also mediated talks between the Burundi government and opposition in 2016 that were aimed at ending a long political crisis.
‘’I am saddened by the death of Benjamin Mkapa, the third President of Tanzania, I will remember him for his dedication to the nation and the growth of the economy,’’ Magufuli said, adding “I will remember him for his great love for the nation, his piety, hard work and performance in building the economy.”
The president declared a seven-day mourning period, during which all flags will be flown at half-mast.
“Magufuli asks all Tanzanians to remain calm, patient and united during this difficult time,” a statement from his office said.
The 81-year-old Tanzania’s president also served as an ambassador, minister and key official of the ruling CCM party.
In related news, Tanzania’s election commission has scheduled the country’s highly anticipated presidential election on October 28. The body said the election campaign would run from August 26 to October 27.
President Magufuli will be seeking re-election after the governing Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party chose him as their presidential candidate earlier this month.