Reading the Pope’s message at Mkapa’s burial at Lupaso in Masasi District yesterday, Tanzania Episcopal Conference president Archbishop Gervas Nyaisonga said that the Pope conveyed his condolences to President John Magufuli, the bereaved family and the people of Tanzania.
Pope Francis described Mkapa as a good leader who directed his efforts to bringing development to his people.
“Pope Francis is in deep grief. He has sent his condolences to the late Mkapa’s family and all mourners,” the archbishop said.
He added: “The pope has noted that the former president made great efforts to improve various sectors so as to spur the development of his people. He has recommended the late Mkapa’s soul to God.”
A number of top leaders from within and outside Tanzania sent their messages of condolence, all of which were read during the funeral at Lupaso village.
Messages of condolences from Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi and former president Joaquim Chissano were read by the Mozambican High Commissioner in Tanzania, Monica Patrisio-Mussa. Both leaders wished the late Mkapa’s family strength and hope.
“President Nyusi had wished to come over in person but couldn’t. He has therefore sent me to convey his message as well as that of his brother, former President Chissano, both saying farewell to their brother and friend,” she said.
Former president Alhaj Ali Hassan Mwinyi, whom Mkapa succeeded in 1995, said: “I am overwhelmed with grief. The holy books state that human beings commit mistakes by nature. The late Mkapa was a human, and he might have wronged some people during his lifetime.”
“In a situation like this, we are supposed to pray for him so that Almighty God forgives him,” he noted, quickly adding that Mkapa transformed the country’s economy for the better.
Former president Mkapa died aged 81 while undergoing treatment for malaria.