The news of his passing was announced by current president John Pombe Magufuli on national television, Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation on July 24th.
It is said that Benjamin Mkapa passed on at DAR es Salaam hospital where he’d been admitted.
In a brief televised statement, President John Pombe Magufuli advised Tanzanians to receive the news of Mzee’s demise and take heart while praying for his soul.
Benjamin Mkapa, born on 12th December, 1938 in Ndanda, Masasi, was Tanzania’s third president from 1995 – 2005 when he was replaced by Jakaya Kikwete.
Benjamin Mkapa was elected President based on a popular anti-corruption campaign and the strong support of former president Julius Nyerere. Mkapa’s anti-corruption efforts included creation of an open forum called the Presidential Commission on Corruption (Warioba Commission) and increased support for the Prevention of Corruption Bureau.
Mkapa’s second five-year term of office as President ended in December 2005 and it was during this term in office that he privatized state-owned corporations and instituted free market policies. His supporters argued that attracting foreign investment would promote economic growth. His policies won the support of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund and resulted in the cancellation of some of Tanzania’s foreign debts.
He was however criticized for some ineffectiveness of his anti-corruption efforts as well as for his lavish spending. He once spent £15 million on a private presidential jet, as well as almost £30 million on military aviation equipment which experts deemed beyond the limited needs of the country’s armed forces. It was over the latter purchase that British International Development Secretary Clare Short expressed public outrage, resulting in her becoming known as ‘Mama Radar’ in the Tanzanian press.
Having left office after the expiration of his two-term limit, Mkapa was dogged by many accusations of corruption, among them improperly appropriating to himself and his former finance Minister Daniel Yona the lucrative “Kiwira Coal Mine” in the southern highlands of Tanzania without following lawful procedures. By privatizing the Kiwira Coal Mine to himself, he is accused of a breach of the Tanzanian constitution, which does not allow a president to do business at the state house.
He diligently served as Chairman of the Revolutionary State Political party(Chama Cha mapinduzi).
The deceased is survived by a spouse and three children.
His death is indeed a great loss to Tanzania