The honour was bestowed upon Dr Mwinyi at the Zanzibar State House Zanzibar yesterday by resident French Ambassador Frederic Clavier, acting for French President Emmanuel Macron.
State House Zanzibar said in a statement that President Mwinyi extended his sincere gratitude to President Macron and the people of France for the honour, saying not many people in the world get such a mention of respect.
The French envoy said that when President Mwinyi served as Minister for Defence and National Service for nearly 10 years, the United Republic of Tanzania contributed immensely in successful peacekeeping operations especially in Africa,” the statement noted.
Dr Mwinyi said that the government of Zanzibar is ready to work with investors from France and other organisations from France for mutual benefit, it said, underlining his other remarks that peaceful coexistence being enjoyed in Zanzibar was a result of engagement of political groups that resulted in a peace accord.
Dr Mwinyi congratulated French travel photographer Aline Coquelle for publishing a book that promotes Zanzibar and its tourist destinations, while earlier Ambassador Clavier said that from 2008 to 2014, then minister Mwinyi established cordial working relations between the Tanzania People’s Defence Force and France.
The then minister was a key link in bringing about successful cooperation between Tanzania and France, the envoy noted, highlighting that the president also made significant contribution while working as a medical doctor especially at the Muhimbili National Hospital. It is a facility that France has closely worked with, the envoy affirmed.
The Legion of Honour is the highest French order of merit, both military and civil. Established in 1802 by Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, it has been retained by all later French governments.
The order's motto is Honneur et Patrie (Honour and Fatherland), and its seat is the Palais de la Légion d'Honneur next to the Musée d'Orsay, on the left bank of the Seine in Paris, not far from the headquarters of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at the Quay d’Orsay.
During the French Revolution, all of the French orders of chivalry were abolished and replaced with Weapons of Honour. It was the wish of Napoleon Bonaparte, the First Consul, to create a reward to commend civilians and soldiers. From this wish was instituted a Légion d'honneur, a body of men that was not an order of chivalry, for Napoleon believed that France wanted a recognition of merit rather than a new system of nobility, chronicles indicate.