Amb. Macocha Tembele is the Director of Multilateral Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation and was the Personal Assistant to the Late Benjamin Mkapa until his passing on
Zakia Meghji was Minister throughout H.E. The Late Benjamin Mkapa’s tenure; first as a Minister of Health and later as Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism. She writes of President Mkapa’s contribution to tourism in Tanzania.
The first time Prof Ngila Mwase communicated with Ben Mkapa, then Managing Editor of the TANU Party newspapers- the Nationalist and Uhuru was in 1969. He did not know that Mkapa would one day ascend to the Presidency.
Rwekaza S. Mukandala, Mwalimu J.K. Nyerere Professor of Pan African Studies and Former Vice Chancellor, University of Dar es Salaam pays homage and celebrates the life achievements and legacy of our departed former president and the Founding Chancellor of The University of Dodoma.
This essay was delivered at The Convocation Ceremony, University of Dodoma in honour of President Benjamin William Mkapa, Founding Chancellor of the University, 6th December, 2020.
The late Benjamin Mkapa, former Tanzania
president has surely left behind a legacy that will continue to live across different
generations, especially his charismatic leadership.
The celebrated Tanzanian leader died on July 23
in a Dar es Salaam hospital and his body was heroically laid to rest in his
ancestral gravesite at Lupaso village in Masasi District on July 29 this year.
Apart from his great achievements
as a former statesman, Mkapa will be remembered for his contributions in
building a strong pillar for decision making, accountability, control and behaviour
through his Foundation.
Through his visionary
and patriotic leadership principles as well as philosophy that were the brain
behind the Foundation, he also played an active and oversight role, which many
would remember him for.
After serving as the
third phase Head of State for ten years (1995-2005), Mkapa established a
foundation to support the government in strengthening sustainable and resilient
health systems, particularly to combat HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and M aternal and under five Child Mortality amongst
Dubbed the Benjamin
Mkapa Foundation (BMF) it also worked to address shortage of skilled health workers,
particularly in remote parts of the Country by complementing the Government’s
work in the health sector.
Looked at keenly, transforming
the lives of Tanzanians was Benjamin Mkapa’s life-long work and he committed it
to improving the citizens’ health.
That required more than
his official clause directed as a president, but also physical being if one
might get time to read his book-My Life My Purpose.
Mkapa was a patriotic,
servant leader, an intellectual polymath who used his talent to improve the lives
By establishing BMF,
the fallen hero was fulfilling his father’s dream among Tanzanians who will be
striving to save lives of their fellow citizens.
Mkapa’s father had
wished him to become a priest or medical doctor but he later became the
president as is stated in his book- “My life, My
This was a great milestone
for his family because Mkapa had gone beyond his father’s expectations.
By 2020, and upon
President Mkapa’s untimely demise, the Foundation in close collaboration with the
Government and Partners focusing on transforming lives of millions Tanzanians to
acquire quality healthcare, hired more than 3,500 skilled facility health
workers and deployed more than 1,000 Community Health Workers and as well renovated
13 diagnostic laboratories,
The foundation also
constructed and equipped 11 operating theatres and as well built 482 houses for
health workers- all targeting rural underserved population.
The late Mkapa believed that education is an
important weapon which can be used to storm various challenges facing people,
that is why his Foundation offered sponsorship to 933 students to pursue health
related courses and later be dispatched to health facilities in villages.
The foundation has also trained 4,500 managers
from the health sector at the Local Government Level, simply to improve their
As everyone’s death
demises, the news of the death of the third phase President Benjamin Mkapa on
July 23 this year came as great shock not only to Tanzanians but also to the
staff of Benjamin Mkapa Foundation (BMF).
To BMF, President
Mkapa was a Patron, Founder and Settlor of the organization, who played an
active oversight role with his charismatic leadership style.
It was bad news to
the nation especially the BMF family, when President John Magufuli announced
the death of the fallen hero in the wee hours of Friday July 24, leaving the
country grief-stricken and auguring in the declared seven-day national
announcement was followed by various activities as part of preparations for his
burial. BMF board members and senior management team joined Mkapa’s family at
Msasani residence in Dar es Salaam to mourn the death of their patron whose death
has left them in disbelief.
The BMF also took
part at the President Mkapa’s state funeral that was held at Uhuru National
Stadium in Dar es Salaam before his body was flown to his native land of Lupaso
At the state
funeral, President John Magufuli led Tanzanians and foreign dignitaries to pay
their last respects to the late former president.
Mkapa’s body was
flown to his treasured homeland where he had opted for his burial.
However, the Foundation
staff were among the people who joined thousands of ordinary citizens at the
Lupaso home village, packed to the brim with people from all corners of the
country and beyond to pay their last respects and bury the globally hero-known
BMF board members
and senior staff were among the few groups, who were given the opportunity to bid
farewell to the departed president by laying a wreath on his grave.
“Our Settlor was a life well lived and time
meaningfully spent. We thank God for the gift of his life. We pray for his
eternal peace,” said Dr.
Adeline Kimambo, Chair of the Board of Trustees of BMF as she offered her
“Rest in peace Mzee
Mkapa, and we as the Foundation shall continue implementing your legacy,” she
Mkapa Foundation (BMF) partners have come together to mourn the death of its Founder and Settlor Benjamin Mkapa whom they
eulogised as a brilliant public servant who dedicated his entire adult life in
serving his country.
Mkapa the former
Tanzanian President, died on July 23 in Dar es Salaam and his body was laid to
rest in his home village Lupaso
in Masasi District on July 29 this year.
With the partners they paid tribute to the
third phase president saying his brainchild idea of establishing the Foundation
has immensely improved lives of millions of Tanzanians, and particular health
of people in rural areas.
In its condolence message, Compass Technical
Team in Tanzania, said President Mkapa has contributed a lot in strengthening
health systems and in admirable ways, benefited many nationals.
Tanzania Network of Women Living with HIV and AIDS Executive Director, Joan
Chamungu Msuya, Tanzania has lost a brilliant servant, who dedicated his entire adult life serving his
beloved nation with dignity and excellence.
She said Mkapa will be remembered by many things
including championing the fight against HIV and AIDS in Africa.
Dr. Redemptia Mbatia from Tanzania Health Promotion
Support (THPS) said her organization joins the BMF to fly the vision of the
great leader of the nation.
The World Health Organization
(WHO) Director, Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases Dr. Mwele
Malecela described President Mkapa as a true statesman and transformational
“His legacy lives on through the
institutions he built and systems he put in place … in his retirement he
played a critical role in advancing the health workforce agenda … He is one
of the giants whose shoulders we stood on,” Dr Malecela said.
condolences the Executive Director of Ifakara Health Institute (IHI) Dr. Honorathi
Masanja said “another great son of Africa has fallen” and prayed for
his soul to rest in eternal peace.
Miller – OBE from the Department for International Development (DFID) said the
work being done by BMF is an amazing legacy to his commitment to the Tanzanians
Dr. Josephine Ballart from CSSC said BMF has
lost a guardian and a leader praying for his soul to rest in eternal peace.
In her condolence message Dr. Marina Njelekela
from USAID Boresha Afya Southern Zone Program said that Mkapa has left a legacy
that will never be forgotten as a visionary and a true African leader, who
embraced health issues fully to the extent of formulating BMF that is a health-related
Ariel Glaser Pediatric AIDS Healthcare Initiative (AGPAHI)’s Dr. Sekela
Mwakyusa consoled BMF saying Mkapa has left behind a lot of things thanking God
for his life.
Makota from Save the Children consoled the entire BMF team for the loss of
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) said the AIDS response has
lost one of its most committed champions. “He was a patron of BMF which he
reached millions of Tanzanians and continues to improve rural health services.
list also included taking health services to the grassroots, especially for the
well being of women, men and children including people living and affected by
HIV,” reads part of the message.
of Ireland Chargé d’affaires, Adrian Fitzgerald said Mkapa was a remarkable man
who cared deeply for his people and his beloved Tanzania. “His legacy
includes the great work of BMF…our most sincere condolences to the people of
Tanzania for this terrible loss and in particular to the family and his friends
at this very sad time.”
Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender Elderly and Children Ms Ummy
Mwalimu Mkapa spirit will continue to live in the hearts of many Tanzanians
especially those in the health sector.
said that even after his retirement as president, Mkapa continued to contribute
in improving the health sector, adding: “Through BMF you have facilitated the
construction of houses for health personnel
especially in regions with dire need of health workers including Katavi,
Kigoma, Rukwa, Songwe, Tabora and Simiyu.”
the former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Dr. Donan Mbando, the sad
news of Mkapa’s death was a shock, particularly because the country has lost
its Founding father.