Pretoria – The death of former Tanzanian president Benjamin William Mkapa has robbed Africa of one of its outstanding sons who contributed considerably to the quest for peace and stability on the continent, according to former South African president Jacob Zuma.

“The passing of the third president of Tanzania robs the SADC [Southern African Development Community] region and the continent of one of its outstanding sons who contributed immensely to the quest for peace, stability, and a better life for the African peoples. I worked closely with president Mkapa during the protracted negotiations to end the conflict in Burundi,” Zuma said in a statement on Sunday.

“The talks were held primarily in Tanzania and we received immense support from president Mkapa and his government. His commitment to finding solutions that would create an Africa free of conflict is also evidenced by the fact that he led peace missions in other parts of East Africa as well, even after retirement.”

Zuma said Mkapa would also be fondly and gratefully remembered for his role during the struggle for liberation in South Africa. “He was outspoken on international platforms, including the United Nations, not mincing his words when it came to demanding an end to racial oppression and the colonialism of a special type in our country and in Namibia."

Zuma extended condolences to Mpaka's family, "his movement, Chama Cha Mapinduzi, as well as the government and people of Tanzania. May his soul rest in peace”.

On Friday, Tanzanian President John Magufuli announced that Mkapa, 81, who served from 1995 to 2005, had died while receiving treatment at a hospital. Mkapa mediated peace talks in numerous African countries, including Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Burundi, and Zimbabwe.