JUST IN: Former President Dies at 98

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Former President of Tanzania, Ali Hassan Mwinyi, has reportedly died.

Naija News understands that Mwinyi, who ushered in multi-party democracy in the East African nation, passed away at the age of 98 on Thursday.

 

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Confirming the development on a state television programme, the incumbent President of Tanzania, Samia Suluhu Hassan, said: “I’m saddened to announce the death… around 5:30 in the evening.”

 

Hassan noted that the former leader had been receiving treatment for lung cancer in London, where he was hospitalised in November last year before returning to continue treatment in the main Tanzanian city of Dar es Salaam.

 

The president announced that Tanzania will honour seven days of mourning, during which national flags will be lowered to half-mast.

 

Chosen by independence leader Julius Nyerere to take over, Mwinyi took charge of a nation facing economic turmoil after unsuccessful socialist initiatives.

 

Nyerere’s “ujamaa” initiative aimed to foster unity through a socialist economic model, but the communal experiments ultimately left Tanzania in a challenging position.

 

Mwinyi, born on May 8, 1925 in the former British colony of Tanganyika, made significant changes to the economic landscape by lifting restrictions on private enterprise and streamlining the import process. These reforms earned him the nickname Mzee Rukhsa, which roughly translates to Mr Permission in Swahili.

READ ALSO: Reps reject bill seeking president to secure over 50% votes in presidential poll

 

 

Originally, Mwinyi’s father had hoped that he would pursue a career as a spiritual leader.

 

However, Mwinyi decided to focus on teaching and later ventured into politics in the 1960s, following Tanganyika’s independence.

After the merger of Tanganyika and Zanzibar in 1964, which resulted in the formation of Tanzania, Mwinyi steadily climbed the political ladder.

 

He served as an ambassador to Egypt and held various ministerial positions, including health, home affairs, and natural resources, during the 1970s and early 1980s. In 1984, Mwinyi assumed the presidency of Zanzibar. Later, he was chosen by Nyerere to lead Tanzania.

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