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Former Tanzania President Benjamin Mkapa is dead

Former Tanzania President Benjamin Mkapa is dead.

Incumbent President John Magufuli, in a statement, said that the former leader died in the early hours of Friday.

He said Mkapa had been ailing and admitted to a Dar es Salaam hospital.

Mkapa, who was Tanzania’s third president and served between 1995 and 2005, led several regional peace mediation efforts in office and afterwards, died while receiving treatment at a hospital in Dar es Salaam, Magufuli said, without giving more details.

Specifically, he was part of the committee of eminent persons who brokered a peace agreement between retired President Mwai Kibaki and ODM leader Raila Odinga in early 2008.

“I call on all Tanzanians to receive the news of his death and to pray for Mzee Mkapa. More information will be released but Mzee Mkapa is no more,” he said in a brief television statement.

“I will remember him for his great love for the nation, his piety, hard work and performance in building the economy.”

The president declared a seven-day mourning period, during which all flags will be flown at half-mast.

Mkapa, 81, also served as an ambassador, minister and key official of the ruling CCM party, Magufuli said.