WELCOMING ADDRESS BY DR. ELLEN MKONDYA-SENKORO, CEO OF THE BENJAMIN MKAPA FOUNDATION (BMF) AT THE OPENING OF THE 2ND MKAPA LEGACY HIGH LEVEL SEGMENT ON 14TH JULY, 2022, ZANZIBAR.
Your Excellency Samia Suluhu Hassan, President of the United Republic of Tanzania;
Your Excellency Dr. Hussein Ali Mwinyi, President of Zanzibar, Chair of the Revolutionary Council and Settlor of the Mkapa Foundation;
Your Excellency Philip Isidory Mpango, Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania;
Excellencies Former Presidents of the United Republic of Tanzania and Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar;
Your Excellency Joachim Chissano, Former President of the Republic of Mozambique;
Your Excellency Othman Masoud, First Vice President of Zanzibar;
Your Excellency Hemed Suleiman Abdulla, Second Vice President of Zanzibar;
Honorable Zuberi Maulid, Speaker of the House of the Representative;
Honorable Mama Anne Mkapa, Former First Lady and a widow of Late President Benjamin William Mkapa;
Honorable Mariam Mwinyi, First Lady of Zanzibar;
Mama Fatma Karume and Former First Ladies;
Honorable Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and Senior Government Officials;
Chair and Members of the Mkapa Foundation Board (BMF);
Excellencies Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Members of the Diplomatic Corps;
Our distinguished development partners and sponsors;
Ladies and Gentlemen!
It gives me pleasure to welcome all of you today to this High-Level segment of the second Mkapa Legacy Symposium. This High-Level Segment is the highlight of this year’s commemoration which started yesterday with the symposium, and was cordially graced by His Excellency Othman Masoud, First Vice President of Zanzibar.
I take this opportunity to thank you all for affording us with your precious time and your presence. Your turn out in numbers is very telling about the respect and admiration you have to our fallen hero, Late Excellency President Benjamin William Mkapa. The overwhelming warmth and attachment you have shown us, gives us energy to keep pushing from where President Mkapa ended.
In a special way, I thank Her Excellency Samia Suluhu Hassan, President of the United Republic of Tanzania, for accepting our invitation to join us today for the second time. We are aware she earlier planned to be in Pemba today, nevertheless she found time to be with us. Words are not good enough to express our fondness for this gesture of compassion you have shown us. Kindly understand that we are touched, and we are incredibly grateful to you.
Our Settlor and the host, His Excellency Dr. Hussein Ali Mwinyi, President of Zanzibar and Chair of the Revolutionary Council, also deserves a special mention. Last year, you promised to host the 2nd Mkapa Legacy commemoration here in Zanzibar. You have delivered what you promised us. Thank you for making this year’s commemoration even more colourful and befitting to the name and stature of the man we are celebrating today, Late President Benjamin William Mkapa.
To our Former President of Mozambique, Mzee Joachim Chissano, we thank you for coming all the way to honour your beloved friend and a Comrade. Your being with us today, gives comfort that all is not lost. We lost President Mkapa, but we did not lose you. He left us with his friends to look up to us, and we are excited to hear from you, knowing of the long association you have had with Mzee Mkapa.
When Former President Benjamin Mkapa departed the world in July, 2020, many of the condolences messages that came to the Foundation carried two main messages. First, they expressed sympathy for the lost we endured, and second, they registered wishes to the Mkapa Foundation to carry on President Mkapa’s legacy.
There were some general feelings that President Mkapa’s outstanding contribution to Tanzania, and the world, should not be left in vain. Some, where concerned and worried that perhaps President Mkapa’s vision and, possibly his Foundation’s will come to an end. Suddenly, our shoulders become heavy of the expectations and responsibilities.
We took both of these wishes and concerns very seriously. With the able guidance of our Board, we deliberated to initiate the annual Mkapa Legacy Symposium to celebrate his life and legacy, and also we decided to launch the Benjamin William Mkapa Endowment Fund, to ensure the sustainability of his legacy to our children, children’s children, and children after them!
Much as we were clearer in our resolve and the intentions, we were nervous of the response of our stakeholders and public to this idea. What made us soldier on however, was our firm belief that President Mkapa’s legacy is worth preserving, curating, and telling. Our conscience could not let us shy away from that historic responsibility bestowed on us. We rose to the calling and organized the first Mkapa Legacy Symposium under the theme ‘A Year Without Mkapa: Celebrating his Life, Honouring his Legacy’ in Dar es Salaam on 14th July, 2021. Thanks to your attendance and encouragement, today, we are here for the second commemoration.
Our Founder and Settlor Late President Benjamin William Mkapa taught us about Resilient Leadership. Himself, is a living example of resilient leadership. While in office, he introduced and pioneered twin bold and disruptive public service reforms and economic reforms that transformed our country from a relatively closed to an open economy. As a result, we witnessed the growth of the private sector, which slowly but surely changed the way our government relate with the private sector to date.
Inspired by his leadership in advocating for and creating space for the private sector to play a role, this year’s theme was chosen to be, “Resilient Leadership. Inspire Change for All.” Guided by the theme, yesterday the symposium devoted to discussing and deliberate on two sub themes namely, “Accelerating Strategic Health Transformation in Tanzania Through Business Coalition for Health” and “Innovative Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) Approaches Towards Attaining Universal Health Coverage.”
What came out firmly from Ministers of Health from both sides of our Union, the Panellist and the floor, is the acknowledgement and realization of the need to actively bridge in private sector in health care and service delivery. The existing experience of partnership between government and Non-State Actors in the health sector was celebrated as a success, and there was an appeal the same to scaled up to include the private sector for profit.
Worthy of telling is the consensus that the timing is right. Coincidentally, we see both Her Excellency President Samia Suluhu Hassan and President Dr. Hussein Ali Mwinyi, have pronounced yourself very boldly to give accent to the partnership with the private sector. The political tone you have set at the top, and the commitment you have shown in realizing this noble goal regardless of the challenging political environment, is an example of the resilient leadership needed to make Public Private Partnership take off. We commend you for showing us the way, and more so, for staying the course. Know that you are not alone. We are rallying behind you!
Much as I am so tempted to tell our story about Mkapa Foundation own experience of working in partnership with the government, I refrain to do so since we have prepared a short video to be played after my remarks, to highlight in optics and numbers how partnership works. For that reason, allow me to wind up my statement and welcoming you to watch the documentary that we prepared for you, since seeing is believing!
With these many words, I thank you once again for honouring us with your presence and for your kind attention.