THE NEW PRESIDENT

KikweteJakaya Kikwete greets children in Morogoro during the electrion campaign – photo Michuzi Jr

IRIN (a UN humanitarian news and information service, which may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies) has issued a profile of the new president. Extracts: Jakaya Kikwete, is widely regarded as a career politician and staunch socialist. Yet he has repeatedly expressed his commitment to continuing his predecessor’s free-market reforms. Despite opposition complaints, these have left the majority of the people as poor as they were under the country’s socialist system. Kikwete’s affiliation with Tanzania’s founding President, Julius Nyerere; his immediate successors Ali Hassan Mwinyi and Mkapa; as well as Kikwete’s long-time membership in the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), are well known. When Mwinyi left office before the country’s first multiparty poll in 1995, Kikwete unsuccessfully challenged Mkapa for the CCM nomination but gracefully accepted the party’s choice. For this, he was rewarded the post of Foreign Minister. Kikwete, 55, has been the country’s longest serving Foreign Minister, marking a decade at that post this year. Before that he headed the ministries of finance, water, energy and minerals (1990-1994) after serving as deputy minister between 1987 and 1990. When introducing Kikwete at a campaign rally in Dar es Salaam on 21 August, Mkapa described him as a super-diplomat, in recognition of his role in the search for peace in neighbouring Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. “Yes Tanzania has won accolades for its role as recipient of refugees and mediator. It is Kikwete and his team at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and international mediators who were doing much of the spade work day and night,” Mkapa said. Mkapa also credited him with having done a “splendid job” advancing regional integration within the East African Community and in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Kikwete graduated from the University of Dar es Salaam with a degree in economics in 1975 and immediately joined CCM, then known as the Tanzania African National Union (TANU). While serving as a TANU cadre Kikwete underwent military training and was, at one time, seconded to the Tanzania People’s Defence Forces as chief political instructor at the Monduli Central Military Academy, the country’s top military training institution. Here, commissioned and commanding officers are trained for leadership in all army units. He was commissioned as a lieutenant and retired as a colonel when political pluralism was reintroduced to the country in 1992. Born on 7 October 1950 in Msoga village, Bagamoyo District, Kikwete is a devout Muslim. Apart from a keen interest in politics, which he developed in his college days, Kikwete is also a lover of sports and is currently the patron of Tanzania’s National Basketball Association

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