Mkapa played ‘pivotal role’ in ending Kenya’s 2008 post-election chaos: Kenyatta

FILE PHOTO – Tanzania’s former president Benjamin Mkapa speaks during the official opening of peace talks between the Congolese government and the eastern Congolese rebel group of General Laurent Nkunda at the U.N. headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya December 8, 2008. REUTERS/Antony Njuguna/File Picture

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday expressed his country’s gratitude to former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa for his help in ending the 2008 post-election chaos.

Hailing the former Tanzanian president as a dedicated Pan-Africanist who shaped the destiny of the continent, President Kenyatta issued a Presidential Proclamation, announcing that Kenya shall observe three days of national mourning starting Friday.

Mkapa died late on Thursday after a short illness, which forced him to be admitted at a Dar es Salaam hospital.

Born on 12 November 1938, he rose to the presidency in 1995 and served until 2005 before handing over to Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete.

Upon retirement, Mkapa was part of various peace missions across the continent, including the mediation team that helped resolve Kenya’s post-election chaos in 2008.

“In Kenya, we shall forever be grateful for the pivotal role played by the Late President Mkapa in the mediation process that ended the 2007/2008 post-election violence and political impasse that resulted thereafter. Our Nation’s peace, reconciliation and greater unity can be directly linked to the spirited actions, wisdom, mediation and sacrifice of the Late President Mkapa and his colleagues on the Panel of Eminent Persons,” said President Kenyatta.

In Tanzania, President John Magufuli declared a seven-day mourning period in honor of the former head of state.