My Life, My Purpose
A Tanzanian President Remembers
by Benjamin William Mkapa
His Excellency Benjamin Mkapa was Tanzanian’s third president, elected under the first multi-party general election in Tanzania. His memoirs range from his childhood, time as president, and his continuing post-retirement involvement on the international stage of development and peace mediation. This book will appeal to readers interested in: an African’s personal experiences of colonialism in East Africa; the struggle for independence by the liberation movements of several African countries; how war helped unify the diverse citizens of a young nation; fostering nationalism and addressing ethnic and religious differences; the economic and social aspects of transition to socialism and then to a free market environment; the political transition from a single party state to multi-partyism; and relations with international organisations and development partners.
During the ten years of his presidency he undertook substantial reforms, such as the privatisation of national assets, securing international debt relief and restructuring the public service. His Excellency writes of his childhood, his political maturation, the evolution of the State and politics in Tanzania, as well as some political upheavals in neighbouring countries. These memoirs are enriched by his views on leadership and advice for aspiring leaders. After Julius Nyerere, few books have been written by senior Tanzanian leaders on the evolution of Tanzania; in fact more literature has been produced by foreigners than Tanzanians, thus H.E. Mkapa’s memoirs are a milestone. This book will appeal to aspiring leaders; students of development, international politics and diplomacy; those working for development partners; historians and those who want to know more about their Tanzanian heritage.
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