Authorities of University of Cape Coast (UCC) on Friday conferred an honorary Doctor of Letters Degree on President Benjamin William Mkapa, former President of Tanzania, at a special congregation.

President Mkapa, who served two five year terms as President of his country from 1995, was honoured for his selfless services to his country, Africa and the international community.

He is the 33rd eminent personality to receive an honorary degree from UCC and the first East African.

President Mkapa is in the country to deliver the just-ended eighth edition of “Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Lectures” under the theme “Rethinking the Political, Social and Economic paradigm of African Development”.

In a citation at the impressive and well attended ceremony, the UCC, described President Mkapa, accompanied by his wife Anna, as a seasoned journalist, accomplished diplomat, renowned politician, democrat, peace maker, human rights advocate, promoter of good governance, statesman and role model.

It said the former President, would always be remembered for his remarkable leadership initiatives to free Africa from colonialism and apartheid and for his pivotal role in the fight against poverty in Africa.

The former Tanzanian leader, the citation said, would also be remembered for the unflinching use of his knowledge and skills to put Africa on the international map.

“Throughout your long and varied career, you have given yourself unselfishly to serving your nation, Africa and the international community. You have earned the recognition for your selfless service to Tanzania and your advocacy for the poor of the world. You have consistently engaged the world to convince them of the need to help poor nations to free themselves from the yoke of poverty”.

The former President, it said, continued to demonstrate at the domestic, regional and international levels, his deep commitment to the attainment of global peace, and genuine concern for the socio-economic wellbeing of the downtrodden.

President Mkapa served in various important leadership capacities, including ‘Chair of the South Centre, a Geneva-based inter-governmental organisation of developing countries, Co-Chair of the Investment Climate Facility for Africa, and of the Africa Emerging Markets Forum (AEMF) and commissioner on the UN Commission on the Legal Empowerment of the poor’.

He already has seven honorary degrees from Soka University in Japan, Morehouse College, Atlanta in the United States, Kenyatta University and University of Dar-Es-Salaam.

President Mkapa expressed gratitude to the UCC authorities for the honour and remarked that he was impressed by the planning that culminated in the growth of the university.

He praised the UCC for the facilities provided for enhancing academic work, such as the ultramodern library, facilities to facilitate the easy mobility of disabled students, thereby providing equal opportunities for all.

Dr Charles Mensa, Chairman of UCC Council, said it was the tradition of the UCC “to pay homage to illustrative lives of our times”, with a strain of excellence closely allied with Godliness and goodness.

He said as a result the university had throughout the years, honoured persons who had made immense contributions to the advancement of knowledge, as well as those who have demonstrated strong commitment to the promotion of ideals that promote development on the continent.

Dr Mensa said President Mkapa, was being honoured for the democratic development of his nation, Africa and UCC was honoured to have him as an alumnus.

Source: GNA