Former Tanzania President Benjamin William Mkapa has died at the age of 81.
The death of Mkapa who was the third President of Tanzania was announced by President John Pombe Magufuli, in a televised address.
According to Magufuli, Mzee Mkapa died at a hospital in Dar es Salaam where he was undergoing treatment.
“Nimesikitishwa na kifo cha Mzee wetu Benjamin Mkapa (Rais Mstaafu wa Awamu ya 3). Nitamkumbuka kwa mapenzi yake makubwa kwa Taifa, ucha Mungu, uchapakazi na utendaji wake katika kujenga uchumi. Hakika Taifa limepoteza nguzo imara. Mungu aiweke roho yake mahali pema peponi, Amina. (I am saddened by the death of our Elder Benjamin Mkapa (Retired 3rd President). I will remember him for his great love for the Nation, his piety, hard work and performance in building the economy. Certainly the Nation has lost a strong pillar. May God place his soul in a good place in paradise, Amen).” said Magufuli.
President Magufuli called on Tanzanians to be calm and pray for the former president’s family.
He also announced seven days of mourning the former leader of the East African nation with the Tanzanian flag flying half mast.
Kenya’s former Prime Minister Raila Odinga also mourned the former Tanzanian President describing him as a great friend of the Kenyan people, a pan Africanist and a global statesman.
He went on to mention some of the great achievements by Mkapa including helping Kenya return to peace after the 2007-2008 post-election violence, and championing for the revival of the East African Community.
“I mourn former President Benjamin Mkapa, a great friend of the Kenyan people, a pan-Africanist, a true believer in South-South Cooperation and a global statesman. In Kenya we retain fond memories of his mediation efforts alongside Dr Koffi Annan and Graca Machel that helped the country return to peace after the 2007-2008 election violence.
Mkapa believed in Regional Integration and championed the revival of the East Africa Community and championed.
In his death, Africa has lost a giant. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, President John Pombe Magufuli and the great people of the United Republic of Tanzania,” said Odinga.