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Over the years: Mkapa the journalist who became Tanzania's president

By Standard Reporter | July 24th 2020

February 2008: President Mwai Kibaki and ODM leader Raila Odinga sign coalition agreement at his Harambee House office. Looking on is Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete, Chief mediator Kofi Annan and, right in glasses, former Tanzania President Benjamin Mkapa. [Archive, Standard]

Tanzania's third president Benjamin Mkapa, who died last night, worked his way to the highest office in the land starting off as a junior public administrator. We trace his journey through the years.

November 12, 1938: Ben Mkapa is born in Mtwara, southern Tanzania then a Germany colony  called Tanganyika.

1956: Receives the equivalent of a high school diploma from St. Francis College in the United States.

Flashback: President Daniel Moi (right) and Benjamin Mkapa during Jamhuri Day Celebrations at Nyayo Stadium, on December 12, 1995. [Standard Archives]

1957: Enrolls in Makerere University College, Kampala, graduates with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 1959.

1962: Appointed an administrative officer in Dodoma in an independent Tanzania and is rapidly promoted to Foreign Service officer.

1963: Columbia University, awarded a master’s degree in international affairs, switches careers to journalism.

1966: Managing editor of The Nationalist and Uhuru newspapers, marries Anna Joseph Maro.

1972: Managing Editor Daily News and The Sunday News, with veteran Kenyan journalist as a senior editor.

1974: President Julius Nyerere appoints him his press secretary, later Mkapa becomes the founding director of Shihata (Shirika la Habari Tanzania).

 1976: High Commissioner to Nigeria and Minister for Foreign Affairs

1977-9: Minister for Information and Culture

1980-83: High Commissioner to Canada

1982-83: Ambassador to the United States

1983-84: Minister for Foreign Affairs.

1992-95: Nominated as Member of Parliament.

 1977: Elected to National Assembly for the Nanyumbu Constituency.

1990: Elected at the Chama cha Mapinduzi National Conference as the party’s presidential candidate, 1995: Elected president of Tanzania, serves two terms until 2005.


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