Tanzania is in mourning following the passing of former President Ali Hassan Mwinyi, a key figure credited with spearheading free trade in the East African region.

President Samia Suluhu announced Mr Mwinyi’s death in a live broadcast on Thursday.

Died at the age of 98, Mr Mwinyi succeeded Tanzania’s first president, Julius Nyerere, who stepped down in 1985 after 22 years in power.

President Suluhu expressed her condolences, stating, “On behalf of the government, I would like to convey my sympathies to the family, relatives, friends, and all Tanzanians for this loss.”

Mr. Mwinyi is recognised for his role in implementing free-market policies that facilitated the growth of free trade within the East African Community.

His son, Hussein Ali Mwinyi, currently holds the position of President of Zanzibar, the Tanzanian island renowned for its vibrant tourism.

President Suluhu disclosed that Mr. Mwinyi had been receiving medical treatment in London before returning to Tanzania.

His passing marks the fourth among former Tanzanian presidents in recent years, following the deaths of Julius Nyerere, Benjamin Mkapa, and John Magufuli, who passed away while in office.