Former President of Tanzania Benjamin Mkapa has died, the presidency announced on Friday.
“Mkapa, 81, died in hospital in the city of Dar es Salaam, where he was being treated for an illness,’’ incumbent President John Magufuli said in a statement without giving details.
African Union Commission chair Moussa Mahamat tweeted his condolences, saying Mr Mkapa was “a statesman particularly remembered as an indefatigable peacemaker in the East African region.”
Mr Mkapa was elected president in 1995 and was known for instituting economic reforms and promoting stability during his 10 years at the helm.
He spent significant amounts of money on improving the east African country’s road infrastructure.
Today, Tanzania is among a few countries on the continent with an expansive road network.
Over the years he was appointed mediator in a number of peace talks in various countries such as Burundi, Kenya and Zimbabwe.
He was also instrumental in lobbying for sanctions on South Africa, which helped put an end to racist apartheid rule in that country.
Mr Magufuli announced a mourning period of seven days.