The 3rd President of the United Republic of Tanzania, the late Benjamin William Mkapa, was
born out of the family of Mzee William Matwani and Mama Stephania Nambaga on 12th November,
1938, at Lupaso village, Masasi, in Mtwara Region. He was the last born in the family of four children (4).
The Late Benjamin William Mkapa completed his Primary education at Lupaso Primary School and thereafter
joined Ndanda Secondary School for three years (1948 – 1951), before joining Kigonsera Seminary School in
- He joined St. Francis College at Pugu in Dar es Salaam in 1955 and competed form Five and Six in 1956.
- He joined Makerere University in Uganda for undergraduate studies from 1959 – 1962 after which he
acquired his first degree in English Literature and Phonetics.
- In 1963, he obtained his Master’s Degree in International Relations and Diplomacy from Colombia
University, in the United States of America.
EMPLOYMENT IN THE CIVIL
The Late Benjamin William Mkapa began his career as a Government Administrative
Officer in Dodoma district, in Dodoma Region, April, 1962. In August 1962, after four months of work, he
proceeded to pursue his Post Graduate Studies in Diplomacy from Colombia University in the United States of
Upon return from his studies in 1963, he joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a Foreign Service
Officer where he served as Desk Officer for Africa. Among his responsibilities was to take
minutes of the Minister for Foreign Affairs or the President when they had international meetings.
The Late President Benjamin William Mkapa worked in the Civil Service as an ordinary government officer
for a very short period of time. For a good long time, the late, was a leader in various positions as
- In 1966, he was appointed a Managing Editor of the Tanganyika African National Union
(TANU) Party Newspaper – The Nationalist. By virtue of this position he was permitted to attend
the Party’s Central Committee Meetings.
- He was a Member of Parliament of the East African Parliament from 1970 – 1975.
- In April 1972, the Late Benjamin William Mkapa was appointed the first Managing Editor of the
Government English Newspapers namely the Daily News and Sunday News.
- From 1974 to 1976, he was appointed as the President’s Press Secretary.
- In 1976 he was assigned to establish Shirika la Habari Tanzania (SHIHATA) and was
later made the CEO of the same.
- In 1976 he was appointed Tanzania’s Ambassador to Nigeria.
- In 1977, he served as Minister for Foreign Affairs and nominated Member of Parliament. He
led the Ministry for three years before he was appointed Minister of Information and
Culture, the Ministry he led from 1980 –1982.
- Between 1982 – 1983 he was appointed and served as Tanzania’s Ambassador to Canada where he
had a brief tour of service and was transferred to the United States as Tanzania’s Ambassador, where he
served until 1984.
- In 1984, he was again appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs, a position he held for six years – until
1990 when he was again appointed Minister of Information and Broadcasting.
- From 1990 to 1992, he was Minister of Information and Broadcasting.
- In 1992, he was made Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education, the position he held until
1995, when he decided to stand for presidential candidature and emerged triumphant as President of
the United Republic of Tanzania as flag bearer of Chama cha Mapinduzi – CCM.
The late Mkapa was married to Mama Anna and were blessed with two children namely Stephen (Steve) and
Nicholas (Nico). He also has two grandchildren.
- The late Benjamin William Mkapa was appointed Member of Parliament, in 1977.
- Between 1985 and 1995 he served as an elected Member of Parliament for Nanyumbu Constituency in Masasi
District, Mtwara Region.
- For a number of years, the late Mkapa was a member of the Central Committee of Chama cha
Mapinduzi– CCM, Member of the National Executive Committee and a Member of the
Secretariat of CCM responsible for Foreign Affairs.
- In November 1995, he was elected President as the 3rd President of the United Republic of Tanzania until
2005 and simultaneously served as the Chairperson of Chama cha Mapinduzi.
- The late President B. W. Mkapa was the First elected President under
Multi-party system, put in place in 1992.
SALIENT SUCCESSES OF THE LATE BENJAMIN
WILLIAM MKAPA DURING HIS TERM OF OFFICE
During the time when the late Benjamin Mkapa was the Minister for Foreign Affairs, among other important
activities, he was fully and steadfastly engaged in the liberation struggle of the African continent. He
established very good rapport at international level which enabled Tanzania to get unflinching support from
the world over including that of big nations like China and Russia. The late Benjamin William Mkapa was
highly respected in Southern African countries for his grand contributions he made during
the liberation struggle under the leadership of Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere. Many of those Southern
African countries awarded the late Mkapa with Medals of the Highest Order in recognition of his contribution
during the liberation struggle.
After his presidential ascendancy, he vigorously began to adjust the economy by introducing reforms in the
Government in order to solve the challenges which prevailed then. In the plight against corruption,
the late Mkapa, in 1996, created a Presidential Commission to investigate corruption in
the country under the leadership of the retired Prime minister, Hon. Joseph Sinde Warioba. The
outcome of the Commission did, to a great extent, re-enforced the war against corruption in the country
leading to the creation of the Anti-Corruption Institution in the country.
The late Benjamin William Mkapa introduced and encouraged economic reforms which included giving wider space
in the private sector and privatization of Public Institutions which were mal-functioning and
those which had already collapsed. He introduced a system of dialogue between the Government and the Private
Sector where he personally oversaw through the National Business Council – NBC.
He also strengthened fiscal policies and controlled circulation of money and inflation in the country.
He augmented tremendously government revenues and in general instilled economic principles in the country.
The late Benjamin William Mkapa initiated and began to implement National Development Vision 2000 –
2005, which is currently being implemented. He also put in place various important institutions in
order to improve government execution in the following areas:-
- The National Health Insurance Fund (Mfuko wa Bima Taifa)
- Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) (Mamlaka ya Mapato Tanzania)
- Tanzania National Roads Agency (TANROADS) (Wakala wa Barabara Tanzania)
- Tanzania Social Support Fund (TASAF) (Mfuko wa Jamii)
- Tanzania Commission for AIDs (TACAIDS) (Tume ya
Kupambana na Ugonjwa wa Ukimwi).
- Tanzania Poverty Reduction Strategy (MKUKUTA) (Mkakati wa Kuondoa Umaskini na Kukuza Uchumi
- Property and Business Formalization Program (BFFP) (Mpango wa Kuimarisha
Raslimali na Biashara (MKURABITA).
- National Business Council (NBC) (Baraza la Biashara la Taifa (BBT).
- Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) (Taasisi ya Sekta Binafsi Tanzania).
The Late Benjamin William Mkapa strengthened the freedom of the Mass Media and politics. He fully recognized
and supported the development of religious institutions in the nation; with that in mind, he handed over
government buildings to some institutions in order to establish universities. For example, he handed over
the Mazengo Secondary buildings to the Anglican Church to establish St. John’s University. He gave the
Iringa Bank College buildings to the Catholic Church in order to establish the Ruaha University; and TANESCO
buildings in Morogoro to BAKWATA in order to establish the Islamic University of Morogoro. He also handed
over the buildings of the Secondary School Magamba to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania
(KKKT) so that they may start their Sebastian Kolowa Memorial University (SEKOMU). As incumbent
President, the Late Benjamin William Mkapa occupied the following international positions.
- Chairperson of the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization
- Chairperson of the Advisory Board Panel of Microsoft Africa
- Founder Member of the Panel of African Leadership Forum
From the year 2005, the Late Benjamin William Mkapa occupied himself with various political and development
- The creation of his Foundation, The Benjamin William Mkapa Foundation (BMF),
geared toward combating HIV/AIDS including the improvement of health services delivery system
especially in the periphery areas of the country.
- Acting as Chancellor of the University of Dodoma (UDOM).
- Chancellor of the Cavendish University in Uganda.
- Serving as member of the Board of Trustees of the Aga Khan University.
- Facilitator to the Inter-Burundi Dialogue in Burundi.
- Member, Committee of the Club of Retired African Presidents on the
Campaign Against HIV/AIDS.
- Member, Panel of Eminent Persons: Enhancing the development role and
impact of UNCTAD.
- Member, Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on UN System-Wide Coherence
in the areas of Development, Humanitarian Assistance and the Environment.
- Member, Commission for Africa established by former Prime Minister Tony Blair of the United
- Member, Board of Trustees, African Wildlife Foundation.
- Chair of the United Nation’s Panel monitoring Sudan referenda.
- Co- Mediator and African Union Special Envoy with former President Olusegun Obasanjo of the Republic of
Nigeria in the political conflict in DRC.
- Co-chief Negotiator with Former Secretary General of the UN, Kofi Annan and Graca Machel, on the
Political Conflicts in Kenya.
- Co-Founder of the Investment Climate Facility for Africa.
The Late Benjamin William Mkapa was awarded the following medals:-
- The Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya (Chief ) (2005)
- The Jane Goodall Global Leadership Award (2007)
- The Order of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere (2011).
The Late Benjamin William Mkapa, was honored and awarded the following Honorary Degrees from various national
and foreign Universities:-
The Late Benjamin William Mkapa had clarions which fitted well with his thinking regarding national
development and self- reliance, “Ukweli na Uwazi”, meaning Truth and Transparency. And,
“Mtaji wa Maskini ni Nguvu zake Mwenyewe”,meaning “Poor man’s capital is his own strength” and
reliance on God during the labor. He often said; “Oraet labora” meaning “Prayer and Work”.
We should be guarded by his clarions as we emulate him.
ILLNESS AND HIS PASSING AWAY
President Benjamin William Mkapa, the 3rd President of the United Republic of Tanzania passed away as a
result of cardiac arrest on 23rd July, 2020 at 9.30 pm, at the age of 81.
and the Lord has
blessed be the
name of the Lord.