The family of the departed former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa today stated that the former head of state died of cardiac arrest.
The family spokesperson William Erio while addressing mourners during the funeral mass of the late Mkapa at Uhuru Stadium dismissed reports on social media that the former President died of Covid-19.
According to Erio, Mkapa felt unwell and went to the hospital where tests confirmed he was suffering from malaria.
“He was on medication, admitted on Wednesday and Thursday afternoon he was feeling well, I went to visit him and he instructed me to take Bishop Nzigirwa to see him,’’ said William.
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Addressing thousands of mourners in Swahili, the family spokesperson called on Tanzanians to respect the fact that Benjamin Mkapa died of a cardiac arrest and avoid speculating rumours.
Benjamin Mkapa passed on the night of Thursday while receiving treatment in a Dar hospital, and his cause of death has been speculated for the better part of Friday and Saturday, social media users saying he succumbed to Covid-19.
Tanzanians led by President John Magufuli have attended the late Benjamin Mkapa’s requiem mass to bid farewell to the departed former head of state at the Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
Former President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa and Vice President Samia Suluhu were in attendance, former President Hassan Mwinyi did not attend the catholic led mass.
James Mbatia of NCCR party attended the requiem mass, however, key opposition leaders were not present.
The public will pay their last respects for three days starting today to Tuesday.
According to a statement released by Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa on Friday, Tuesday will be a day for local leaders and foreign dignitaries to pay their last respects.
The East African Community nations are mourning in solidarity with Tanzania, region heads of state have already declared three days of national mourning, during which the national flags of Kenya, Rwanda & Uganda, the flag of East African Community (EAC) will be flown at half-mast for the period of mourning.
The late former President will be laid to rest on July 29, 2020, at his home in Lupaso village in Mtwara region.