WHEN he was a child, the late third-phase President Benjamin Mkapa, dedicated much of his time self-studying at home. His parents helped him develop deep love for education.
This is according to Mzee Mkapa’s aunt, Rose Magnus Mkapa, aged 94, who recalled memories when speaking with the ‘Daily News’ at her house located close to the home of the former Head of State at Lupaso village, where he was buried on Wednesday.
Bibi Rose Mkapa was speaking from her bed because she could not venture outdoors due to being fatigued.
Tears streaming along her cheeks, she continued sobbing as she took a walk down the memory lane.
Losing the son was psychologically very shattering. At some point, she was so heartbroken that she couldn’t continue speaking, recovering her composure after being consoled.
“Mkapa was a very brave child, and her late mother was very strict when parenting him. He had little freedom. It was hard to see Mkapa roving around, he was always at home studying after returning home from school,” she explained, adding: “His mother’s strictness was what moulded Mkapa into a good leader.”
The old woman recalled that it was no that little Benjamin put much effort in education, noting that he avoided going to school late.
Giving a brief history of Lupaso village, she said the village was founded by the Mkapa clan. Members of the Mkapa clan were the first to settle there before independence and other people came in after the government introduced the ujamaa village system.
“In those days, it was only us (members of Mkapa’s family) who lived in this village before the government formed the Ujamaa villages system, which brought together people from different places,” she explained.
The Minister of State in the President’s Office (Good Governance), Mr George Mkuchika, confirmed that Mkapa’s reading culture that he cultivated during boyhood continued into his adulthood.
Mkuchika said Mzee Mkapa liked reading books and articles, and he always shared with younger people, well written articles that he believed could offer them leadership lessons and courage.
Meanwhile,Kagera residents joined other Tanzanians in mourning the fallen hero Mzee Benjamin Mkapa, urging them to cherish what he did to the nation, including accomplishing his tasks with great professionalism, reports Meddy Mulisa from Bukoba.
Jacob Tinkaligaire (64) a resident of Muleba District's Nshamba village, paid tribute to the late president Mkapa citing the abolishment of development levy (head tax), crop and livestock cess (agricultural cess), bicycle licences and market fees, which he said were a public nuisance.
“Sometime in 1994, Muleba Council conducted a house to house tax collection exercise. About five villagers fled their homes and spent three days hiding in the bush. We thank President Mkapa for abolishing the taxes, which were a public nuisance,” he said.
Regina Kokuhumuliza (32) from Kemondo village, in Bukoba Rural, hailed Mr Mkapa for spearheading the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) which ultimately bore fruits by creating employment opportunities through key institutions introduced under Mr Mkapa, including Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), Tanzania Roads Agency (Tanroads) and National Social Security Fund (NSSF), to mention a few.
She appealed to Tanzanians to pray for the late President Mkapa and cherish his accomplishments.