PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan has reassured Tanzanians that her government will continue honouring the country's third president, the late Benjamin Mkapa who passed away on July 24, 2020 in Dar es Salaam.
She made the statement through her greetings conveyed by Vice President Dr Philip Mpango at a mass held in Mkapa's village of Lupaso in Masasi district, Mtwara Region.
The mass which was held to mark one-year anniversary after his death was presided over by the Archbishop of Dar es Salaam, Polycarp Cardinal Pengo.
The government was represented by Dr Mpango and attended by various leaders, including Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa.
"We shall continue honouring the contribution of the late Benjamin Mkapa in the development of our country, he was a great leader who walked the talk, especially on issues of national interest," said President Samia in a message delivered by the VP.
Commenting on the deeds of Mkapa, the VP said the late Mkapa was a God fearing man who will forever remain in the hearts of many, including his family and the nation at large for his good deeds.
"Benjamin Mkapa was a person who loved his family, and the nation at large, as we mark the commemoration of his death, his family members and the nation misses his advice, forethought and care," he said.
Mpango said that the government and the ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) and the nation at large is also missing Mkapa's wisdom, comments and advice he had on national issues as well as intentional institutions, including the Benjamin Mkapa Foundation.
Dr Mpango said the late Mkapa had contributed in the country achieving economic revolution, the fight against corruption, fight against HIV/ AIDS, ensuring transparency and accountability in public services and resolution of political disputes in DRC, Burundi and Kenya.
The VP said all the achievements by the late Mkapa remain as marks for Tanzania. He said Mkapa's leadership era touched the lives of many, right from his family, national and international level.
"The biography of Benjamin Mkapa is full of praiseworthy deeds and many good things that he did," he said, adding that each and every day that Mkapa lived served as a lesson to everyone who worked with him.
The VP also said Mkapa's life was like a mirror of the community that surrounded him, where through his leadership the former leader raised and nurtured many leaders who are still holding various government positions.
Meanwhile, the VP urged Tanzanians to emulate the late Mkapa by sacrificing to work for the betterment of the nation, saying the late President John Magufuli during his lifetime emulated Mkapa' spirit of working hard.
He insisted on the need for Tanzanians to work professionally in all the sectors they are involved in.
On the other hand, the VP said the country's leaders should emulate Mkapa's determination in making difficult decisions for the benefit of the nation.
Dr Mpango said leaders of the nation should also learn from the late Mkapa the importance of being accountable by ensuring justice and equality in serving the citizens.
Other issues the leaders ought to learn from Mkapa, according to Dr Mpango, is that Tanzania and Africa as a whole has the responsibility to solve problems and disputes, such as family disputes, political and economic issues that encounter the continent.
He said by doing so, Tanzania and the rest of the African countries will be able to promote national equality in Tanzania and Africa.
He said the church, the nation and international bodies will continue to honour the late Mkapa and keep his legacy for remarkable achievements in solving political disputes in Zanzibar that erupted during the general election in 2000 and 2007, and Kenya and Burundi disputes.
For their part, former cabinet ministers who worked under the third phase government described the former leader as a true patriot who dedicated his efforts and time of service to bring development in the country.
Mr Edger Maokola Majogo who served as the minister for Defence and National Service during the administration of President Makapa, said despite his originality in southern regions, the former president was keen to see equal development for the whole nation.
"When it comes to decision making, he was strong and able to defend whatever he thought was profitable for the nation," he said in a note that was seconded by Mr Andrew Chenge who served as the Attorney General under the third phase government.
"He initiated a number of reforms that are still in use until now," he said, recalling the number of construction projects, such as the Mkapa Bridge that was meant to open up the southern regions.