Tanzania holds state funeral for ex-president Mkapa

FILE PHOTO: Tanzania’s former President Benjamin Mkapa (R) speaks with Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ali Karti during a meeting in Khartoum October 11, 2010. /Reuters

Thousands of Tanzanians gathered on Tuesday to say a final goodbye to the country’s third president Benjamin Mkapa at a state funeral in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam.

In a national address for the funeral, Tanzanian President John Magufuli said Mkapa’s death was a loss for Tanzania, Africa and the world at large.

“Mkapa was a global citizen. He was a dynamic leader, a seasoned diplomat, a mediator and a peacemaker,” Magufuli said in his address televised live by state-run Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation.

He said Mkapa was instrumental when he took part in peace talks and reconciliation for countries in the Great Lakes region.

The head of state added that during his administration, Mkapa also oversaw the country’s economic reforms, good governance and growth of the private sector.

Mkapa, who died on Friday, will be buried on Wednesday in his native village of Lupaso in Masasi district in Mtwara region.

Born on Nov. 12, 1938, Mkapa served two five-year terms from 1995 to 2005.