Tanzania’s Former President Benjamin William Mkapa has died at the age of 81. Announcing the tragic news tonight, President John Magufuli said the former leader of the East African nation has passed on at 12.30 AM (EAT). Early this year, Mkapa, who led Tanzania from 1995 to 2005, published his biography – My Life, My Purpose.
In one of Mkapa’s notable statements in his book, he calls for the establishment of an independent electoral commission, a suggestion apparently ignored by the current regime under Magufuli – and which he and his immediate successor, Jakaya Kikwete, also ignored during their reign.
While announcing Mkapa’s death, President Magufuli did not mention anything about the location and cause of the death. According to section 7 (a) of the National Leaders Funeral Act, 2006, the president should have mentioned the cause of death, among other things. It reads: “The president shall, as soon as possible after receiving official information and confirmation from an authorised medical officer of the death of a national leader, deliver official announcement on the death of the national leader, date and time of death and the cause of death.”
President Magufuli’s omission of the cause of death raised people’s eyebrows and led to public speculations, with some leakages from Mkapa’s close aides citing the possibility of the former president succumbing to COVOD-19. But a family spokesperson, William Erio, said on Sunday 26th July 2020 that President Mkapa had died of a cardiac arrest.
The public is paying the last respects for three days until Tuesday at the Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam. President Mkapa will be laid to rest on Wednesday at his home village, Lupaso, in Mtwara region.