Benjamin Mkapa

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Benjamin Mkapa
Mkapa in 2010
3rd President of Tanzania
In office
23 November 1995 – 21 December 2005
Vice PresidentOmar Ali Juma
Ali Mohamed Shein
Prime MinisterFrederick Sumaye
Preceded byAli Hassan Mwinyi
Succeeded byJakaya Kikwete
Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education
In office
PresidentAli Hassan Mwinyi
Minister for Information and Broadcasting
In office
PresidentAli Hassan Mwinyi
Personal details
Benjamin William Mkapa

(1938-11-12)12 November 1938
Ndanda, Masasi, Tanganyika
Died24 July 2020(2020-07-24) (aged 81)
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Political partyCCM
Other political
SpouseAnna Joseph Maro
Alma materMakerere University(B.A.)
Columbia University(M.A.) Open University of Tanzania

Benjamin William Mkapa (12 November 1938[1] – 24 July 2020)[2] was the third president of Tanzania, in office from 1995 to 2005. He was Chairman of the Revolutionary State Political Party (Chama Cha Mapinduzi, CCM).[3]

Early life[edit]

Mkapa was born in Lupaso, near Masasi, Tanganyika, on 12 November 1938.[1][4] He graduated from Makerere University in Uganda in 1962 with a Bachelor of Arts in English.[1] He went on to study at Columbia University the following year, and earned a master's degree in International Affairs.[5]

Previous posts include being an administrative officer in Dodoma and the Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education. Mkapa was the head of the Tanzanian mission to Canada in 1982 and to the United States in 1983–84.[6] He was the Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1977 to 1980 and again from 1984 to 1990, before meeting his best friend Edward Mwassaga.[7]


Mkapa meeting with Indian president Abdul Kalam in Dar es Salaam on 11 September 2004

In 1995, Mkapa was elected as 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.[8] His second five-year term of office as president ended in December 2005. During this term in office, Mkapa privatized state-owned corporations and instituted free market policies.[9] 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.[8]

He was criticized for some ineffectiveness of his anti-corruption efforts[8] as well as for his lavish spending. He spent £15 million on a private presidential jet, as well as almost £30 million on military aviation equipment from BAE Systems, which experts deemed beyond the limited needs of the country's armed forces.[10] 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.[11]


Mkapa at the 2010 World Economic Forum in Africa

Having left office due to a 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. For privatizing the mine to himself, he was accused of a breach of the Tanzanian constitution, which does not allow a president to do business at the state house.[12]

In 2007, Mkapa was part of the African Union's Panel of Eminent African Personalities, who were deployed to Kenya to resolve political violence that had broken out due to disputed election results. Mkapa - along with humanitarian and former First Lady of Mozambique and South Africa, Graça Machel and former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan (Chair) - led the group in mediation efforts that resulted in the signing of the National Accord and Reconciliation Act of 2008.[13]

Mkapa served as a trustee of the Aga Khan University from 2007 to 2012.[9]


Mkapa suffered from malaria and treated on 22 July 2020. He died of heart attack in Dar Es Salaam in the early hours of 24 July at the age of 81.[14] Tanzanian President, John Pombe Magufuli, announced his death. The last farewell was conducted by Tanzania People's Defense Forces. He was laid to rest in his hometown of Lupaso, Masasi.[15]

In recognition of the role Mkapa played in resolving Kenya's 2007/2008 post-election violence, Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, declared a three-day period of national mourning following his death, ordering all flags at public buildings and grounds to fly at half-mast.[16]

Honours and awards[edit]


Order Country Year Ref
Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya (Chief)  Kenya 2005 [17]
Order of Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere  Tanzania 2011 [18]


Honorary degrees[edit]

University Country Degree Year
Sōka University  Japan Honorary degree 1998[20]
Morehouse College  United States Honorary degree 1999[20]
Open University of Tanzania  Tanzania Honorary degree 2003[20]
National University of Lesotho  Lesotho Doctor of Law 2005[21]
Kenyatta University  Kenya Doctor of Education 2005[22]
University of Dar es Salaam  Tanzania Honorary degree 2006[20]
Newcastle University  United Kingdom Doctor of Civil Law 2007[23]
University of Cape Coast  Ghana Doctor of Letters 2008[24]
Makerere University  Uganda Doctor of Law 2009[25]


  1. ^ a b c East, Roger; Richard Thomas (2003). Profiles of People in Power: The World's Government Leaders. Routledge. p. 513. ISBN 1-85743-126-X.
  2. ^ "Tanzania's Former President Benjamin Mkapa Dies, Presidency Says". The New York Times. Reuters. 23 July 2020. Archived from the original on 24 July 2020. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  3. ^ "Benjamin Mkapa". Encarta. Microsoft. 2001. Retrieved 19 October 2009.
  4. ^ Iranzi, Fabrice (23 July 2020). "Just In: Former Tanzania President Benjamin Mkapa has died". RegionWeek. Retrieved 25 July 2020.
  5. ^ [1] Archived 1 July 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ ILO Tackles Social Consequences of Globalization,; accessed 25 July 2020.
  7. ^ "Benjamin Mkapa". Archived from the original on 6 January 2009. Retrieved 1 March 2010.
  8. ^ a b c Heilman, Bruce; Laurean Ndumbaro (2002). "Corruption, Politics, and Societal Values in Tanzania: An Evaluation of the Mkapa Administration's Anti-Corruption Efforts" (PDF). Afr. J. Polit. Sd. 7 (1). Retrieved 1 March 2010.
  9. ^ a b "His Excellency Benjamin William Mkapa" Archived 3 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Board of Trustees, AKU University; retrieved 19 October 2009.
  10. ^ Gideon Burrows, "We sell arms to Saddam's friends", New Statesman, 8 September 2003
  11. ^ Hencke, David (27 July 2002). "Short defends personal jet for Tanzania's president". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
  12. ^ Hirschler, Kurt; Hofmeier, Rolf (1 July 2019). A Decade of Tanzania: Politics, Economy and Society 2005-2017. Brill Publishers. pp. 84–85. ISBN 9789004407879.
  13. ^ South Consulting (December 2011). "The Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation: Building a Progressive Kenya" (PDF).
  14. ^ "Former Tanzania's president Benjamin Mkapa suffered from malaria, not Covid-19-family". Africanews. 27 July 2020. Retrieved 27 July 2020.; "Tanzania's former President Benjamin Mkapa dies". Al Jazeera. 23 July 2020. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
  15. ^ "Former President Benjamin Mkapa laid to rest". The Citizen. 1 November 2020. Retrieved 19 July 2023.
  16. ^ nairobi (24 July 2020). "Mkapa: Kenya declares three days of mourning, flags to fly at half-mast". kenya. Retrieved 31 August 2021.
  17. ^ "Mkapa lauds Kenya's democratic posture". 12 October 2005. Retrieved 8 February 2013.
  18. ^ Lyimo, Karl (12 November 2016). "Anniversary : Happy anniversary Mkapa,'Fathers' and World Pneumonia Day Nov 12". The Citizen. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  19. ^ "JGI awards global leaders at 30th anniversary bicoastal events". Jane Goodall Institute. 10 October 2007. Retrieved 8 February 2013.
  20. ^ a b c d "83RD Annual District Conference & Assembly" (PDF). Page 10, Rotary International District 9200. 17 May 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 June 2013. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
  21. ^ "HONORARY DEGREE Recipients". National University of Lesotho. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
  22. ^ "Prominent Alumni". Kenyatta University. Archived from the original on 2 July 2014. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
  23. ^ "Citation: Benjamin William Mkapa DCL" (PDF). Newcastle University. 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 May 2013. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
  24. ^ "UCC honours former Tanzanian leader". Retrieved 23 May 2013.
  25. ^ "H.E. Benjamin Mkapa receives Makerere Honorary PhD". Makerere University. 27 November 2009. Retrieved 7 February 2013.

External links[edit]