Benjamin William Mkapa is no more. The former Tanzanian president has died aged 81.
President John Magufuli made the announcement on Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) on July 24, saying Mkapa died at a Dar es Salaam Hospital where he was receiving treatment.
“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,” he said in the brief television statement.
Dr Magufuli also declared a seven-day mourning period. During this time, all flags in the country will be flown at half-mast.
Mkapa was the third president since Independence and led Tanzania from 1995 to 2005 before handing over to Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete.
He was born on November 12, 1938.
Mkapa, whose latest work is a memoir ‘My Life, My Purpose‘ had also served as Foreign Minister, Minister for Information, Editor of the Government newspapers, and Ambassador to Canada.
The former president is known for leading 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.
Mkapa later penned a book where he revealed that locking out William Ruto (now Deputy President) and Martha Karua from the post-elections violence mediation team in 2008 helped secure a power-sharing agreement between former president Mwai Kibaki and Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga.
Mkapa also mediated talks between the Burundi government and opposition in 2016 that were aimed at ending a long political crisis.
President Magufuli eulogised Mkapa saying he will remember him for his love for the country, the fear of God and hardwork.