Burundi has dispatched Prime Minister Alain G. Bunyoni to attend the funeral ceremonies of departed former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa.
Mkapa passed away in the wee hours of Friday, 24 July, 2020 while undergoing treatment in Dar es Salaam.
Mkapa’s family said he was diagnosed with malaria contrary to media reports that the former head-of-state succumbed to COVID-19.
ChimpReports understands Bunyoni arrived in Tanzania on Monday.
“Very honoured to welcome to Dar es Salaam Burundi Prime Minister HE Alain G. Bunyoni and his delegation coming to attend State Funerals for the late former President of Tanzania Benjamin W. Mkapa who passed away on 24 July 2020…” tweeted Burundi’s Ambassador to Tanzania, Gervais Abayeho.
Mkapa, who died at the age of 81, will be buried on July 29 in his native village of Lupaso in Masasi district in Mtwara region.
Gitega maintains warm relations with Dar es Salaam. Tanzania is seen as the guardian of Burundi’s democracy.
Mkapa was the facilitator of Burundi’s peace process aimed at restoring and consolidating political stability in the country following the failed coup and uprising in 2015.
Tanzania’s former President, Jakaya Kikwete attended the recent funeral ceremony of former Burundian leader, Pierre Nkurunziza.
President Mkapa was a signatory to the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community on November 30, 1999 alongside the late President Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi (Kenya) and President Museveni (Uganda).
The departed Head of State also signed the EAC Customs Union Protocol in Arusha alongside President Moi and President Museveni on March 2, 2004.
The Customs Union Protocol, which took effect on January 1, 2005 and became fully fledged on January 1, 2010 resulted in significant increases in the volumes of intra-regional trade in East Africa.
The East African Community (EAC) hailed Mkapa as a “dedicated Pan-Africanist who was committed to regional integration and South-South cooperation, in addition to mediating in armed conflicts and political disputes in various African countries, where he championed African solutions to African problems.”
Mkapa was part of the African Union Panel of Eminent African Persons who mediated in the 2008 post-election dispute in Kenya that resulted in the formation of a Grand Coalition Government that brought peace and stability to the country.
“Based on his strong diplomatic credentials and as an elder statesman, the EAC Summit of Heads of State appointed him to facilitate the Inter-Burundi Dialogue that brought together the government and various shades of opinions opposition groups in the Republic of Burundi between 2016 and 2018, to deliberate on a way out of the political crisis,” said EAC Secretary General, Liberat Mfumukeko in a statement this past weekend.
“The Community has therefore lost a mentor, adviser and intellectual who has provided guidance and advice whenever called upon to do so.”
Mfumukeko directed that the EAC Flag and all flags at EAC Organs and Institutions be flown at half-mast from Friday until the day of burial of the departed President.