Ali Hassan Mwinyi, Former President of Tanzania, Dies at 98

Ali Hassan Mwinyi, a schoolteacher turned politician who led Tanzania as its second post-independence president and helped dismantle the doctrinaire socialism of his predecessor, Julius K. Nyerere, died on Thursday in Dar es Salaam, the country’s former capital. He was 98.

Tanzania’s current president, Samia Suluhu Hassan, announced the death, in a hospital, on X, formerly known as Twitter. She said Mr. Mwinyi had been treated for lung cancer.

Mr. Mwinyi was 60 when he took over the presidency in 1985 as the handpicked successor of Mr. Nyerere, who had volunteered to step down after governing his country since its beginnings of independent nationhood as Tanganyika in 1961 and its merger with Zanzibar in 1964 to create the state of Tanzania.

Mr. Mwinyi, center, posed in 1985 with Tanzania’s departing president, Julius Nyerere, left, and Idris Abdul Wakil, who took over as president of Zanzibar. Tanzania was formed by the merger of Tanganyika and Zanzibar in 1964.Credit…Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

At the time, the peaceful transition was seen as precedent setting in a continent that had gained notoriety for political violence as the prime agent of change or succession.

But critics said Mr. Mwinyi — who went on to serve two five-year terms before stepping down in 1995 — had little of the charisma and international stature of Mr. Nyerere, an African statesman closely involved in struggles among independent nations to end Portuguese and British colonial influence in Mozambique, Angola and Zimbabwe, and to sponsor the foes of apartheid in white-ruled South Africa.

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