PRESIDENT John Magufuli waxed lyrical about the deceased former President Benjamin Mkapa, lauding him as a global citizen whose involvement in world affairs brought ideological, political and economic changes on the planet.
The former statesman, who died in a Dar es Salaam hospital last week, will be laid to rest today at his home village of Lupaso in Masasi District, Mtwara Region.
President Magufuli on Tuesday led national leaders and other dignitaries to pay their last respect to Tanzania's third president at the Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
Dr Magufuli said in addition to serving as the third-phase President of Tanzania, Mkapa participated in the African liberation struggle, peace, security and integration of the continent.
He said the late Mkapa will be remembered for his enormous contribution in the liberation of Africa while serving as aide to the first president the late Julius Nyerere, High Commissioner and minister for Foreign Affairs.
"The late Mkapa was against colonialism and apartheid policies in Southern Africa, he championed the revival of East African Community in 1999 and establishment of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) in 2004," Dr Magufuli noted.
He further noted that President Mkapa would also be remembered by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) for championing the construction of the SADC Headquarters in Gaborone, Botswana and the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan of SADC (RISDP).
Dr Magufuli said that Mkapa had enormously contributed to security and peace issues in the Great Lakes Region during his administration and afterwards.
"Former President Mkapa led several peace mediation efforts in Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Kenya and Sudan which contributed significantly to the restoration of peace to the respective countries," Dr Magufuli stated.
He said Mkapa advocated for justice, equity, particularly on the adverse effects of globalisation and unfair terms of trade.
"Mkapa participated in the Helsinki process on Globalization and Democracy which initiated discussions of human rights and fundamental freedoms and fostered economic, scientific, and humanitarian cooperation between East and West," Dr Magufuli said.
He said his participation in the process helped developing countries to understand uneven benefits of globalization and how the process can be beneficial to all people.
During his tenure, Mkapa was co-chair of the International Commission on Social Impacts of Globalisation, formed by the UN International Labour Organisation.
Dr Magufuli said Mkapa once served as the Chairperson of the Board of the South Centre in Geneva, an intergovernmental policy research and analysis institution of developing countries for twelve years after Mwalimu Nyerere.
He was also appointed by the then UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon as a member of a panel for advocating peace and development.
He said that during his lifetime, Mkapa also served as a member of various international institutions among others Africa Emerging Markets Forum, Africa Wildlife Foundation, Legal Empowerment of the Poor , Investment Climate Facility for Africa and the Commission for Africa.
Dr Magufuli, however, assured the public that his government will honour the legacy left by the fallen hero for the benefits of Tanzanians.
Conveying condolences during the state funeral, Prime Minister of Burundi Gen Alain Bunyoni, who was representing the Burundian President Evariste Ndayishimiye, said his country was also mourning the loss of the former president because he contributed a lot in restoring peace in their country.
He testified that the former president was a good mediator during the conflict in Burundi as he worked tirelessly whenever he was needed.
"My President has asked me to convey these condolences to the President of Tanzania on behalf of Burundi that we are also touched by the death of Mzee Mkapa. We all honour his role and contributions toward peace building in Burundi," he said.
For his part, the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps who is the Ambassador of the Union of Comoros to Tanzania Dr Ahamada Fakih said Mkapa's death was a great loss to Tanzania, Africa and the world at large.