Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, born on October 7, 1950, is a prominent Tanzanian politician known for his significant contributions to both domestic and international affairs. He served as the fourth President of Tanzania from 2005 to 2015 and played various crucial roles in diplomacy and regional cooperation before and after his presidency.
Kikwete's early life and education trace back to his upbringing in Msoga, Chalinze District, Pwani Region. He received his primary and secondary education in various regions of Tanzania, eventually attending the University of Dar es Salaam, where he graduated in 1975 with a degree in political science and public relations.
His political journey began within the ranks of the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) party, where he moved through various positions and geographic locations in service to the party. In 1977, when TANU merged with Zanzibar's Afro-Shirazi Party (ASP) to form Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), Kikwete was tasked with establishing the new party's organization and administration in Zanzibar.
Kikwete's political career continued to evolve as he held roles in different party offices and locations, including Tabora Region, Singida Region, Nachingwea, Masasi District, and eventually the central government in 1988. In 1994, at the age of 44, he became one of Tanzania's youngest finance ministers, and in December 1995, he was appointed as the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation under President Benjamin William Mkapa.
Notably, Kikwete served as Tanzania's Minister of Foreign Affairs for ten years, making him the country's longest-serving foreign minister. During his tenure, Tanzania played a pivotal role in mediating peace efforts in the Great Lakes region, specifically in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). He was also actively involved in promoting regional integration within the East African Community, often serving as the chairman of the East Africa Community's Council of Ministers.
In 2005, Kikwete sought the nomination for presidential candidacy within CCM and emerged victorious among 11 party members. Following a multiparty general election on December 14, 2005, he was declared the winner by the Electoral Commission on December 17 and subsequently sworn in as the fourth President of the United Republic of Tanzania on December 21.
Beyond his presidency, Kikwete continued to play a significant role in African and global affairs. In 2013, he urged negotiations with armed groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, emphasizing the importance of diplomacy in resolving conflicts. In 2016, he was appointed as the African Union High Representative in Libya, tasked with leading efforts to achieve peace and stability in the war-torn country.
Kikwete's influence extends to various international organizations, as he was appointed by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to serve as a member of the Lead Group of the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement. In 2022, he co-chaired the Commission for Universal Health convened by Chatham House.
In his personal life, Kikwete is known for his passion for sports, particularly basketball, and has been a patron of the Tanzania Basketball Federation for over a decade. He is married to Salma and has five children.
Additionally, Kikwete has maintained an active presence on social media, particularly on Twitter, where he was one of the most followed African leaders, with a substantial following of over 57,000 followers as of April 2013.
DATE OF BIRTH: 7th October 1950
TIME OF BIRTH:
PLACE OF BIRTH: Tanzania