A host of world leaders have expressed profound appreciation for the legacy of the late former Tanzanian President, Dr Benjamin Mkapa.
Ex-Prime Minister of Britain Tony Blair said Dr Mkapa had a great love for Tanzania and Africa, and was deeply dedicated to the development of his country.
He said this in the virtually held Benjamin Mkapa Symposium to mark the first anniversary of the statesman’s death.
“The closeness and friendship that existed between myself and Mkapa is one of the things that I value most in my life, it is my belief that all the people who knew him enjoyed working with him as he was a good man with a broad vision,” said Mr Blair, adding that it was proper to celebrate his life.
Dr Mkapa was a Co- Chair – with President Tarja Hallonen of Finland – of the Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalisation from 2003 to 2004. He was also a member of the Commission for Africa initiated by Tony Blair.
Former United States President Bill Clinton said he was proud to have worked with Dr Mkapa, recalling how he expanded medical services and passionately supported the fight against HIV/AIDS, malaria and non-communicable diseases.
Dr Mkapa strove to strengthen democracy in Tanzania, entrenched civil rights and rolled back poverty, while boosting international trade and FDI. He was also active in conflict prevention, management and resolution in the Great Lakes Region of Africa, and was an active player in regional economic co-operation within the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), an organisation he served as Chairperson from August 2003 to August 2004.
In late 2001, Dr Mkapa launched the first National Policy on HIV/ AIDS.
He encouraged voluntary HIV counselling and testing, and championed prophylactic treatment.
In 2005, he served as a panelist in the Panel of Eminent Persons appointed by the UNCTAD Secretary-General and in 2006 he served as a member of the High-level Panel on UN System-wide Coherence in areas of Development, Humanitarian Assistance and Environment, driven by the United Nations Secretary-General. He also served as a Commissioner on a UN High Level Commission on the Legal Empowerment of the Poor (2006- 2008) and a member of the Board of Governors of the Dead Sea Scrolls Institute.He was also a member of the prestigious Madrid Club of Former Heads of State and Government and a member of the board of trustees of the African Wildlife Foundation. He co-founded the Benjamin William Mkapa HIV/AIDS Fellowship Programme, an initiative aimed at supporting delivery of ARVs to the under-privileged and those living in remote areas. – Daily News (Tanzania)