Meet the leader benjamin william mkapa

Meet the Leader: H.E. Benjamin W. Mkapa – UONGOZI

meet the leader benjamin william mkapa

Tanzania: Meet the Leader - Benjamin William Mkapa Uongozi institute, a Tanzania based facility that moulds and sharpens the leadership skills . Benjamin William Mkapa (born November 12, ) is a Tanzanian former politician who was Awards[edit]. Ms Jane Goodall Global Leadership Award. H.E. Benjamin William Mkapa- Former President of the United Republic of President Mkapa explained that beyond being a political leader he was a The Champions transcend political partisanship to speak freely and.

And secondly, was to do the same thing with regards to the international financial institutions, specifically because of the IMF and the World Bank, because we had over-borrowed immensely and we were not paying back our debts.

So those relations were also greatly soured. But also I thought that the relations between government and the trade unions on the one hand and the cooperatives on the other, which institutions, nationalist institutions had been major pillars of the independent struggle, relations with them had also been greatly soured.

Therefore I came really to try to see if we could really reaffirm or rediscover those working relationships which are very important indeed for development. And then I also did know for a fact that financial discipline, fiscal discipline and public expenditure discipline was somewhat low.

The discipline was low, and that was one of the reasons why relations both bilateral as well as multilateral had been soured.

So I was determined to face up to these challenges, and I must say that we did succeed to restore those relationships. Do you think at the time you assumed the presidency this vision was well understood by your assistants and public at large? The public at large and I think even the bulk of the civil service were quite aware that we had major challenges or problems at hand.

Whether they thought I was capable in leading the efforts to correct those shortcomings, and if you like, to really mobilize the people to face the challenges, I do not know. I think they must have been somewhat hesitant, because I had not led a public life very much in the limelight.

You see, an Ambassador is a low-key person, however widely informed and decisive he may be, and although I had been a member of parliament and a minister, it was in a ministry which does not acquire a very large profile inside the country.

meet the leader benjamin william mkapa

I was Minister of Foreign Affairs for the greater part of the time I served in government, and so I wasn't really known. And so within the party, although I started off being the managing editor of the party's newspapers, the Nationalist and Uhuru, as you can see it is a low profile job, however important and decisive it may be. So I think there must have been those who kept wondering whether I could really face these challenges that I have outlined.

With the benefit of hindsight, now you have left the presidency gracefully, do you think maybe you were a little bit too optimistic on what possibly you could have achieved?

Meet the Leader: Special Edition of the African Leadership Forum 2014

No I do not think I was too optimistic. Because having worked with the party, I knew that we could explain issues to the public, and with a government of integrity you can mobilize the population to face any challenge - as Mwalimu had illustrated when we were invaded by Iddi Amin.

The issues he spelled out clearly, he called on everyone, and everyone felt that it was an honorable thing to do to line up behind him and get rid of this invader. So similarly with these other challenges, I felt that with a party that is so strong, even though we were just breaking into a multi-party system, but a party that was strong it had a network of workers, of offices, it had newspapers and although it was a government radio station but it could use that media also to explain the challenges, problems that we faced and how it would be done and that it was not going to be easy but that if we tightened our belts we could restore the economy.

I was confident that this could be done but as I said that there must have been those who wondered whether I would have the courage to take on these problems. How did you go about selecting your key assistants, ministers their deputies, permanent secretaries, regional commissioners etc etc?

There's no other way but to talk to your close associates in government, to get the instruments of government to vet the obvious candidates, to see whether they performed their duties in whatever position they were with great integrity and competence and then to produce the kind of political balance as well as competent energy to tackle these problems.

It was mainly through consultation and vetting, that's how you decide, and then you produce the political balances as I said and the competencies. To when you assumed the presidency inthe economy was in a very bad shape and a lot of macro indicators weren't good.

So was the inability of government to collect revenue where it was supposed to collect revenue, did this add any extra pressure, when you assumed the mantle of the presidency? It did actually constitute great pressure upon me.

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And so, what did I do? I just pressed for efficiency in the revenue collection processes. But in the end I had to accept that the civil service had imploded too much, it was too big, and that it could be cut back to size. Then we had to set up the revenue authority, which we did, and empower its efficiency. In cutting the size of the civil service, I had to look at our bilateral friends and partners or donors, and say to them look, I can't just cut the staff and put them on the streets, they must leave office, even the incompetent ones, must leave office with a certain degree of certainty of how they are going to live and survive with their families.

Can you give me a grant that we can use to allow people to retire early if they choose to do so? A great number chose voluntarily to retire because of the retirement package that I was able to put together through finances given by bilaterals, and that cut back on the government budget and helped to discipline expenditure.

The other thing that we did do was to review the tax structure because sometimes people are inhibited in paying their taxes because it is too cumbersome, the process is too cumbersome. Sometimes it is unreasonable in the sense that the rate is too high, and so I was able to meet individual big business people but also their organizations and talk very freely, what do you think of the tax structure? And they would say, this is a bad tax, this is a good tax, this one so on and so on, and from there we would arrive at a budget that would not be agreed upon by them but at least they would see that it not an imposition upon them.

So that's another thing that we did. One area that perhaps there is a feeling about your administration is the way the privatization process was handled.

meet the leader benjamin william mkapa

There is a feeling, rightly or wrongly that privatization process wasn't properly handled and this may seem to be a criticism to your administration. I don't know how you would respond to this criticism and whether this criticism is rightly leveled against your administration?

I have to say that there was no alternative to privatization. There's this mythology that this public sector was performing very well, those that were supposed to make profit, were making profits, there's who were regulatory were regulating well - that is wrong. They were one after the other resorting to the treasury to receive subsidies, even those that were commercial enterprises, and that is not doing well.

So, we had to privatize. But how did we go about it? We set up the Private Sector Reform Commission and they would look at the finances of one public enterprise after another, look at the figures and see how it could be turned around. They would get independent assessors on what the values were, the financials as well as the fixed assets and so on and then they would put out to tender.

It was open tender. And the Commission would look at these, they would interview, and so on. It was not as secretive as it is sometimes presented. So that was a very fair process indeed.

The only thing I regret is that after you have privatized there should have been a greater effort to monitor the performance of the enterprises.

That I accept and to the extent that it is a shortcoming, it is a shortcoming. But it was not for lack of recognizing that it had to be done, it just wasn't done.

So it wasn't done, so the other thing is, the other criticism that is lodged against the privatization process is that we are supposed to have privatized to foreigners. That it is the foreign bidders that won these enterprisers.

That is not true. A total of public enterprises were privatized. Out of thosewere privatized to Tanzanians nationals, to Tanzanians. And then 27 only, were privatized entirely to foreigners, the remaining ones which is what eighty something, they were all privatized on the basis of partnerships, Tanzanians and foreigners together in a company bidding for it.

So it is a myth saying that we privatized to foreigners. And of those it is said the South Africans were most, I don't think that is true because the biggest I can think of is the Elovo Sugar 9 INTERVIEW UONGOZI Institute, a Tanzania based facility that moulds and sharpens the leadership skills of African Leaders, has a popular series of interviews titled 'Meet the Leader' which features current and former heads of state as well as other major leaders from around the world sharing personal insights into their careers and the qualities of successful leadership.

Today, we are publishing an interview conducted by the Institute's Host Felix Mlaki, with Mr Benjamin William Mkapa, the third phase President of Tanzania, who dwelt on leadership and its importance for sustainable development. Plant in Kilombero, that was the biggest South African ones, but otherwise what else did we do?

Tanzania: Meet the Leader - Benjamin William Mkapa -

So I know there's that criticism but I think it is just a way out for, but I know I am not liked when I say this, but for people who just don't like to think and face up to reality.

What was the single biggest crisis that you faced as a president that you can recall? I think for me the most difficult one was the effort towards the end of the year to change the constitution of Zanzibar in order to allow for an end to term limits. As you know the presidency is limited to two terms, this was for me was a major crisis because it ran counter to the philosophy of government of the party and certainly it ran counter to the counsel we had received from our founding fathers.

So that was a major crisis, I had to explain and explain and explain but ultimately when it came to the crunch we were able to overcome that problem. African unity or a united Africa as a dream, that has not been achieved.

And of late we are seeing some trend and now we have to get your thought on this.

Meet the Leader: H.E. Benjamin W. Mkapa

For example, the best they could achieve is to separate the two countries, so as Eritrea and there is a likelihood Mali could follow, there's a section that want to separate. What are your thoughts on this? Why Africa now is going on the trend of succession? I can only speak on the Sudan, because I led the UN referendum observation team. Historians will tell you that inwhich is when the Sudan became Independent from Britain, the South had already said that it was a mistake to consider Southern Sudan and Northern Sudan as one country, and they worked hard on the British, they even sent a delegation to Britain to tell them it is unwise, they deserve their own Independence.

And to show that really they were serious, three years later, they started a war of liberation. So it's been on and off, the war on and off until they reached the comprehensive peace agreement in Nairobi in So there it's not really a question of separation, it is a recognition of the reality at that time.

The British ruled Sudan as two countries really, and it just asserted itself. Mkapa was able to take advantage of the CCM political base and structure while leveraging the tarnished image of the party, which critics felt was behind the times—and somewhat corrupt to boot—to rally voters behind his cry for change. By July ofa frenzy had begun building in Dodoma, where the CCM was convening to elect their presidential candidate. That candidate turned out to be Mkapa, who was backed by the charismatic Nyerere.

Mkapa, who was then serving as the Minister of Science and Technologypromised to bring economic, social, and political reform if elected. Some opposition parties protested and denounced the elections; citing a loss of confidence in the process, all 10 opposition parties withdrew from the elections in protest two weeks later.

Mkapa defeated his main remaining opponents, including Prime Minister Cleopa Msuya and Minister of Finance Jakaya Kikwete, and emerged as the winner with He was sworn in as president on November 23, President Mkapa immediately faced enormous problems. For instance, during the presidential elections, the CCM victory in Zanzibar was marred by fraud, intimidation, and violence. Some pointed to the fact that in Pembaeven vote-rigging failed to guarantee a single legislative seat for the CCM.

InZanzibar and Pemba, two small Indian Ocean islands off the coast of Tanganyika, merged with the mainland to form the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, which was soon renamed the United Republic of Tanzania. The union has since remained economically, politically, and culturally challenging, with many in Zanzibar pushing for secession. To some extent Zanzibar has maintained some autonomy: Besides electing its own president, it has retained Islamic courts that handle Muslim family cases, and, while private radio and television endeavors operate from Dar Es Salaam, on the mainland, in Zanzibar, they are controlled by the Zanzibari government.

Numerous Swahili-and English-language newspapers are available in Tanzania, but fear of being banned for writing unfavorable stories leads most journalists practice self-censorship.

Nonetheless, opposition does openly criticize the government and the ruling party in public forums. For example, while the constitution provides for the freedom of assembly, laws and regulations have been enacted that limit these rights—such as not being able to run for office if one is not a member of a registered party.

Thus permits to rally are often denied, particularly in Zanzibar. During the presidential elections the opposition in Zanzibar was prohibited from assembling and using their party slogans until just two months prior to the elections, and any gathering suspected of opposing the Zanzibar government was dispersed by police.

Post-election harassment of the opposition has continued in Zanzibar. Mkapa also has to contend with religious differences within his nation state: Zanzibar is largely Muslim, while the rest of the country is 45 percent Christian with another 20 percent of the population consisting of those with traditional, indigenous beliefs. Mkapa is a Christian, and the Muslim community was immediately claiming to be at a disadvantage in terms of civil service representation.

In the same report, the U. As adults, few Tanzanian women are politically active: Only three of the 23 administrative ministers were women. Though the government provides for 7 years of compulsory education, those failing the U.

InTanzania remained one of the poorest countries in the world, and one whose agricultural productivity was insufficient to feed its people despite the fact that 85 percent of the people farm or do agriculture-related work. Exports consist mainly of cashews, cotton, coffee, sisal, cloves, tea, diamonds and other gemstones, and a scant amount of tourism—mostly safari thrillseekers.

meet the leader benjamin william mkapa