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Benjamin Mkapa Biography, Political Career, Honours, Family

Benjamin Mkapa Tanzania Biography

Benjamin Mkapa (Benjamin William Mkapa) was born in 1938 in Ndanda, near Masasi in Tanzania. He is the third president of Tanzania who served for two terms between 1995 to 2005. 

He has been criticized for some ineffectiveness of his anti-corruption efforts as well as for his lavish spending. He spent £15 million on a private presidential jet, as well as almost £30 million on military aviation equipment which experts deemed beyond the limited needs of the country’s armed forces. It was over the latter purchase that British International Development Secretary Clare Short expressed public outrage, resulting in her becoming known as ‘Mama Radar’ in the Tanzanian press.

Having left office due to a two-term limit, Mkapa is dogged by many accusations of corruption among them improperly appropriating to himself and his former finance Minister Daniel Yona the lucrative “Kiwira Coal Mine” in the southern highlands of Tanzania without following procedures. By privatizing the Kiwira Coal Mine to himself, he broke the Tanzanian constitution, which does not allow a president to do business at the state house.

Benjamin Mkapa Education Background

Between 1945 and 1951 he attended primary school at Lupaso and Ndanda Schools where he attained a Standard Eight Cerificate. He was at Kigonsera Seminary between 1952 and 1953, before moving to Ndanda Secondary School for his Ordinary Level Secondary Education. He moved to Saint Francis College (now Pugu Secondary School) for Advanced Level in Secondary Education where he was awarded with a Cambridge School Certificate in 1956.

In 1956 Benjamin Mkapa enrolled at Makerere University College in Uganda and in 1959 he graduated with an arts degree.He continued his studies there and in 1962 he graduated with a bachelor degree in English. He attended Columbia University and in 1963 and was awarded a master’s degree international affairs.

Benjamin Mkapa Political Career

On 9th December 1961 when Tanganyika (Tanzania) gained independence from Great Britain he was
studying at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. After leaving Makerere in 1962 he was appointed an administrative officer in Dodoma, an administrative hub. Within one year he had moved up to district officer and then foreign service officer.

In 1966 he became the the Managing editor of ‘The Nationalist and Uhuru’ newspaper. In 1974 he became the Press Secretary at The Office of the President.

In 1974 he was the foundind director of Tanzania New Agency. In 1976 he was appointed as the High
Commissioner to Nigeria.The same year he became the Minister for Foreign Affairs a position he held

In 1977 he became the Minister for Information and Culture a position he held until 1980 when he was appointed as the High Commissioner to Canada a position he held in 1983. In 1982 he was appointed the ambassador to the United States until 1983.

In 1983 he was appointed as the Minister for Foreign Affairs a position he held until 1984. In 1984 he was appointed the Minister for Information and Broadcasting until 1990. In 1990 he as appointed as the Minister for Science, Technology, and Higher Education.

In 1992 Benjamin Mkapa was nominated as a member of Parliament a position he held until 1995. In 1977 he was elected as the Member of Parliament for Nanyumbu Constituency, Masasi District. In 1995 he was elected as the president of Tanzania on ‘Chama cha Mapinduzi’ party ticket.

Benjamin Mkapa Honours and Awards

  • 2005: Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya (Chief), Kenya.
  • 2011: Order of Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere, Tanzania.

Benjamin Mkapa Honorary Degrees

1. Sōka University Japan Honoris Causa- 1998
2. Morehouse College United States Honoris Causa – 1999
3. The Open University of Tanzania Tanzania Honoris Causa-  2003
4. National University of Lesotho Lesotho Doctor of Law-  2005
5. Kenyatta University Kenya Doctor of Education – 2005
6. University of Dar es Salaam Tanzania Honoris Causa – 2006
7. Newcastle University United Kingdom Doctor of Civil Law – 2007
8. University of Cape Coast Ghana Doctor of Lers – 2008
9. Makerere University Uganda Doctor of Law – 2009

Benjamin Mkapa Tanzania Legacy

1. Benjamini Mkapa hall in Mbeya city located in Sokomatola street.
2. Benjamini Mkapa road in Zanzibar, connecting Mtoni kidatu area to Abeid Aman Karume Airport via Daraja Bovu
3. Mkapa Bridge, the longest bridge in the country (970 metres)
4. Benjamin William Mkapa Pension Tower, one of the tallest buildings in the country
5. Benjamin William Mkapa Special Economic Zone
6. Mererani B W Mkapa Secondary School in Manyara Region
7. Benjamin William Mkapa High School in Dar es Salaam

Benjamin Mkapa Family

  • In 1966 Benjamin Mkapa married Anna Joseph Maro and they have three children.

Benjamin Mkapa  Photo

Benjamin Mkapa

Benjamin Mkapa

Benjamin Mkapa Video