Former President of Tanzania Benjamin William Mkapa is Dead

Former President of Tanzania Benjamin William Mkapa is dead
Former President of Tanzania Benjamin William Mkapa.

The former president of Tanzania, Benjamin William Mkapa has died. He died aged 81. The announcement was made by President John Magufuli on July 24, 2020.

President Magufuli said Mr Mkapa died at Dar es Salaam Hospital where he was admitted.

Benjamin William Mkapa was a Tanzanian politician who was the third President of Tanzania. He was in office from 1995 to 2005. He was also Chairman of the Revolutionary State Political Party.

He was born on 12th November 1938, in Ndanda, near Masasi in southern Tanganyika.

Professional Experience:

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 Tanzana News Agency (Shihata).

Political Career:

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.

President Mkapa was very active regionally and internationally. He was Chairman of the South Centre, Co-Chair of the Investment Climate Facility for Africa, and Co-Chair of the Africa Emerging Markets Forum (AEMF).

He was a member of the board of trustees of the Africa Wildlife Foundation (AWF), a Commissioner on the United Nations Commission on the Legal Empowerment of the Poor (2006-2008), a member of the InterAction Council as well as of the Africa Forum.

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.

Education: Mr. Mkapa holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Makerere University College in Uganda (1962).

He also attended Columbia University in 1963 and was awarded a master’s degree in international affairs. Previous posts include being the administrative officer in Dodoma and the Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education. He also led the Tanzania mission to Canada in 1982 and to the United States from 1983 to 1984. He was the Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1977 to 1980 and again from 1984 to 1990.

President Mkapa holds several honorary doctorate degrees from Soka University in Japan (1998), Morehouse College, Atlanta, USA (1999), the Open University of Tanzania (2003), the National University of Lesotho (2005), Kenyatta University (2005), the University of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania (2006) and Newcastle University, United Kingdom (2007), The University of Cape Coast, Ghana (2008). In October 2007, the Jane Goodall Institute gave him the Global Leadership Award for his leadership in wildlife conservation.

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