Tanzania’s second President Hassan Mwinyi dies at 98years

Tanzania’s second President Ali Hassan Mwinyi Thursday died at the age of 98.

News of Mwinyi’s death was announced by President Samia Suluhu Hassan.

Mwinyi served as President of Tanzania between 1985 and 1995. He succeeded the founding president, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere.

Mwinyi was three months away from his 99th birthday.

He had been in and out of hospital with a chest illness since last November. Mwinyi is credited for introducing multiparty elections and easing state control of the economy.  

Tributes came in from regional leaders. Kenyan President William Ruto spoke of Mwinyi as a great leader. Opposition leader Raila Odinga said Mwinyi was a ‘great African leader and statesman’.

Suluhu said in a national address that Mwinyi had been receiving specialized treatment in London, UK, but later returned home, where he was admitted to Mzena Hospital.

The deceased is the father of Hussein Ali Mwinyi, the current president of Zanzibar.

Suluhu said Mwinyi’s death is a “great loss to the nation.”

Mwinyi will be laid to rest in Zanzibar on March 2, 2024.

With Mwinyi’s death, Jakaya Kikwete is the only surviving former Tanzanian leader.

Other leaders who have passed away in the past few years are Benjamin Mkapa in 2020 and John Pombe Magufuli in 2021.

Kenya’s president, William Ruto, mourned Mwinyi’s death: “I extend my condolences and those of the people of Kenya to President Suluhu Samia and the people of the United Republic of Tanzania following the passing on of H.E. Ali Hassan Mwinyi, the second President of the United Republic of Tanzania.”

He added, “We join in mourning the loss of a great leader whose rich legacy will never fade. Rest in Peace, Mzee Mwinyi.”

Suluhu declared seven days of national mourning in honor of the deceased’s life.

The flags will fly at half-mast during the mourning period.

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Ali Hassan Mwinyi was born on May 8, 1925, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Son of Hassan and Asha Sheikh Mwinyi, Ali Hassan Mwinyi spent his youth on the island of Zanzibar, his parents’ birthplace.

He acquired a diploma from the University of Adult Education, Dublin, England, between 1954 and 1956.

Hon. Mwinyi was a teacher by profession. He taught at Mangapwani and Bumbwini Primary Schools in Zanzibar. Further, Hon. Mwinyi possessed a certificate of excellence in English language obtained at the Institute of Regent, England, in 1960 and a certificate of excellence in Arabic language obtained in Cairo, Egypt, in 1972–74.

Hon. Ali Hassan Mwinyi joined the Afro-Shiraz Party (ASP) in 1964 and held different positions for the government of Zanzibar and the United Republic of Tanzania, such as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education of Zanzibar in 1963.

In 1970, he was Minister of State in the President’s Office of the United Republic of Tanzania, and between 1982 and 1983, he was Minister of Health, Home Affairs, and Natural Resources, and Ambassador of the United Republic of Tanzania to Egypt from 1977 to 1982.

In 1983, he was appointed Minister of State in the Vice President’s Office, and in 1984, he was elected President of Zanzibar and Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania.

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