Thousands bid farewell ex Tanzanian President Ali Hassan Mwinyi

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Thousands of mourners gathered at the national stadium to pay their last respects to former Tanzanian President Ali Hassan Mwinyi, who passed away aged 98.

The late former president was later laid to rest in his home village of Mangapwani in Zanzibar on Saturday. He was buried next to his son, Ali Mwinyi, who died in August 2022.

His son Dr. Hussein Ali Mwinyi, who serves as President of the Tanzanian archipelago of Zanzibar, and other top government officials attended the ceremony.

Mwinyi, Tanzania’s second president from 1985 to 1995, succeeded the country’s founding father Mwalimu Julius Nyerere.

Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu declared seven days of mourning following the passing of former President Ali Hassan Mwinyi.

On day one, thousands of mourners gathered at the national stadium to pay their last respects.

Hospitalised last month for a chest illness, the former leader died three months before his 99th birthday.

Popularly known as ‘Mzee Ruksa’ or anything goes, Mwinyi is credited with steering Tanzania away from its socialist past and into a free market economy. And despite many Tanzanians preferring a one-party state, he introduced multiparty elections.

An ardent supporter of South Africa’s liberation struggle, he repeatedly called for sanctions against the apartheid government.

Regional leaders have continued to pay tribute, with Kenyan President William Ruto and opposition leader Raila Odinga acknowledging Mwinyi as a great African leader and statesman.— Agencies.