The former president of Tanzania Benjamin William Mkapa passed away on Friday at the age 81.
Born on November 12, 1938, in Mtwara, Tanzania, Benjamin William Mkapa was in power between 1995 and 2005.
African Union chairperson and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa sent a message of condolences to the Government and the people of the United Republic of Tanzania following the passing away of Mkapa, the presidency in South Africa said in a statement to TODAY NEWS AFRICA in Washington DC.
President Ramaphosa said Former President Mkapa was “a visionary African leader. An exceptional peace broker leading several peace mediation processes in Africa. He was a revolutionary at heart and formidable leader championing peace, integration and economic development in East Africa and Southern Africa.”
President Ramaphosa also recalled the words of President Mandela in his address to President Mkapa in his 1998 visit to Tanzania where he said “The struggle for our liberation was one that you made your own, not in any distant way but as freedom fighters sharing the sacrifices and the dangers. You gave us a home away from home when we most needed it.”
President Ramaphosa underscored the important role played by Former President Mkapa, particularly how he supported and encouraged sanctions against apartheid South Africa for their occupation of Namibia at the United Nations and on the international stage.
President Ramaphosa said the people of South Africa will always have warm recollections of the life of Former President Mkapa, for the role that he played not only in South Africa but also on the African continent.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari also extended his deepest condolences to President John Magufuli, the government and people of Tanzania on the sad loss of former President Benjamin Mkapa.
“This great son of Africa, world statesman and icon of peace will be greatly missed as we remember his outstanding works, alongside other notable African leaders, to bring long-lasting peace and stability to East, Central and the Great Lakes regions in Africa, during very difficult times in Kenya in 2008 and the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2009.
Buhari recalled, with huge appreciation, his service as Tanzania’s High Commissioner to Nigeria.
“May his gentle soul find eternal rest with his Maker,” the President said and also prayed that God Almighty comfort President Mkapa’s family and the people of Tanzania in their period of grief and grant them strength as they continue to propagate his unique legacies of peace, progress and prosperity for Africans.