President Paul Kagame on Friday, July 24, joined world leaders in paying tribute to former Tanzanian President Benjamin William Mkapa whose death was announced early on Friday, July 24.

Announcing the sad news, President of Tanzania John Pombe Magufuli said that Mkapa, 81, died while receiving treatment at a hospital in Dar es Salaam, without giving more details.

On his Twitter handle, Kagame noted that Mkapa’s death will be felt throughout the continent.

He said: “We are saddened by the passing of former President Mkapa. My deepest condolences to his family, the people of Tanzania and my friend President John Pombe Magufuli.”

 “The loss of our brother Mkapa is one that will be felt throughout the continent. He was a great Pan-Africanist whose contribution went well beyond Tanzania,” Kagame added.

Benjamin Mkapa served as President of Tanzania from 1995 to 2005, where he led several regional peace mediation efforts across the region while in office and afterwards.

A son of Africa

President of Namibia Hage Geingob sent his condolences to the people of Tanzania.

“Following the passing of the former President of Tanzania, H.E Benjamin Mkapa, a brilliant son of Africa and Tanzania, I join the international community in extending my most sincere condolences to President John Pombe Magufuli and the people of Tanzania,” he said in a tweet on Friday.

Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat also reiterated that Mkapa will be remembered for his tireless efforts in making peace in the region.

In a tweet, Faki said: “It is with deep sadness that I learnt of the passing of Mzee Benjamin Mkapa, former President of Tanzania. A statesman particularly remembered as an indefatigable peacemaker in the East African region. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, the people and government of Tanzania.”

Another leader who sent comforts to the people of Tanzania is Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya.

He noted that: “The People of Tanzania have lost a brilliant public servant who dedicated his entire adult life serving his beloved nation with honour, dignity and excellence,’ adding that: “The People of Kenya have lost a close friend and brother, who stood with Kenya during some of our darkest hours.”

Apart from Tanzania, some other countries like Kenya have also announced days of national mourning in honour of the deceased pan-Africanist.

A founding father of new EAC

President Mkapa was a signatory to the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community on 30th November, 1999, alongside late President Daniel Moi, Republic of Kenya, and Yoweri Museveni, President of Uganda.

The 1999 treaty lead to the rebirth of the regional bloc, which had been disbanded in 1977.

On this note, the East African Community also tweeted that the bloc has lost a mentor, adviser and intellectual who has provided guidance and advice whenever called upon to do so.

Additionally, in a statement, the East African Business Council (EABC) also conveyed its deepest condolences to the United Republic of Tanzania, noting that he championed revival of EAC’s business sector.

Mkapa played a pivotal role in enforcing harmonised regional trade policies that saw a reduction in non-tariff barriers, sparking an increase in the volumes of intra-regional trade, reads parts of the statement.

It added that: “His towering legacy in effecting social and economic policies that boosted intra- EAC trade and augmented the vital role of the private sector as the engine for social-economic growth, reigns on.”