Benjamin Mkapa

Tanzanian politician and former president (1938-2020)

Benjamin Mkapa (born November 12, 1938) is a former President of the United Republic of Tanzania (1995–2005).

Benjamin Mkapa




  • Our reason for withdrawal is simple. We are party to too many regional trading organisations. The sum effect of this means that our membership is extremely costly to sustain and we must rationalise our participation in such ventures.
  • The idea of African brotherhood is often just a cover-up for laziness. We must see what is achievable in our circumstances and evaluate all decisions. In terms of regional economic integration, sentimentality is not enough. We really have to be frank and honest.


  • We have a propensity for starting and joining all kinds of organisations, the result was that we were spending more time in conferences than implementing the decisions.


  • Terrorist attacks in their own countries do not generate travel advisories aimed at discouraging citizens of other countries from visiting. Why is it that only when threats of terrorist attacks are perceived in our kind of countries are travel advisories issued?
    • Accusing western countries of issuing indiscriminate travel warnings, 2003-06-24 [4][5]


  • We could have waited for a banana to appear, but we believe in the spirit of cheese-development and confidence. We are not so poor that we are unable to carry out this project.
  • When a jumbo jet crashes, we will rush in with assistance, but we forget that each day 30,000 children die unnecessarily from poverty-related preventable causes - equivalent to 100 jumbo jets crashing every day.
  • "(I support Mugabe) Because we have completed the process of decolonisation while Zimbabwe has not."
    • When asked why he continued to support President Mugabe. [8]


  • There is a thought that poverty is a public policy failure; poverty is man-made by action and non-action: poverty can be eliminated.


  • I am aware that many regard me as an anti-sports character person, but the truth is that the country’s economy by then was in bad shape. Tanzania being among the highly indebted countries, I had to give sports the least prominence during my first term, while setting priorities in revitalising our economy.
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