President Uhuru has declared three days of national mourning and directed that the national and East African flags fly at half-mast in honour of former Tanzania President Benjamin Mkapa.
The former Tanzanian President, who died in Dar es Salaam on Friday at 81, was famed in diplomatic circles for not mincing his words, even though he remained a diplomat par excellence.
“In recognition of this immense loss and tragedy, and as a show of our National Respect for the Fallen African Giant, I have issued a Presidential Proclamation, announcing that the Republic of Kenya shall observe 3 days of national mourning throughout the entire territory of our Country,” Mr Kenyatta said in a statement.
The order takes effect on Monday, July 27 to July 29.
“During this mourning period, the Kenyan Flag and the Flag of the East African Community shall fly at half-mast,” the statement added.
Mkapa, who governed Tanzania between 1995 and 2005, passed on on Friday while undergoing treatment at a hospital in Dar es Salaam.
In his condolence message, President Kenyatta described Mkapa as “an outstanding East African statesman who worked tirelessly for the integration, peace, and progress of the region.”
He added that Kenya has lost a close friend and brother who stood with her during some of her darkest moments.
Former President Mwai Kibaki eulogised the late Tanzanian leader as one of the most reputable peace brokers in the region.
“Mkapa’s is a perfect portrait of public-spiritedness replete with invaluable lessons for those who serve or wish to serve in the public space,” he said.
Kibaki added that Mkapa played a pivotal role in making Africa a better place noting that his input will forever be missed.
Together with the late Koffi Annan, Mkapa played a key role in the mediation process that ended Kenya’s 2007/2008 post-election violence that led to the death of over 1,000 people while thousands of others were displaced.
Tanzania President John Magufuli who announced the passing of the country’s third president also declared a seven-day mourning period.
“I’m saddened by the death of the third president of Tanzania and that is a big loss for us as a country. Let’s pray for him and more information will follow later,” said Magufuli in a televised speech.
He ordered flags at half-mast for seven days as the country mourns the leader who served from 1995 to 2005, handing over to Jakaya Kikwete.