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Dr Jakaya Kikwete
4th President of Tanzania
Assumed office
21 December 2005
Vice President Ali M. Shein (2005–10)
Mohamed Bilal (2010–)
Prime Minister Edward Lowassa (2005–08)
Mizengo Pinda (2008–)
Preceded by Benjamin Mkapa
6th Chairperson of the African Union
In office
31 January 2008 – 2 February 2009
Preceded by John Kufuor
Succeeded by Muammar al-Gaddafi
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
November 1995 – 21 December 2005
President Benjamin Mkapa
Succeeded by Asha-Rose Migiro
Minister of Finance
In office
Preceded by Steven Kibona
Succeeded by Simon Mbilinyi
Member of Parliament
for Chalinze
In office
November 1995 – 2005
Succeeded by Ramadhani Maneno
Personal details
Born (1950-10-07) 7 October 1950 (age 63)
Msoga, Tanganyika
Nationality Tanzanian
Political party CCM
Other political
Spouse(s) Salma Kikwete (m. 1989)
Children Eight
Residence Ikulu, Dar es Salaam
Alma mater University of Dar es Salaam
Profession Economist
Religion Islam
Military service
Allegiance United Republic of Tanzania
Service/branch Tanzanian Army
Rank Lieutenant Colonel

Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete (born 7 October 1950) is the 4th and current President of the United Republic of Tanzania. Prior to his election in 2005, he was the Minister of Foreign Affairs for ten years under his predecessor. He has also served as the Chairperson of the African Union in 2008/09 and the Chairman of the Southern African Development Community Troika on Peace, Defence and Security in 2012/13.


Between 1959 and 1963, Kikwete went to Karatu Primary School in Tanzania before continuing with middle school education at Tengeru School from 1962 to 1965.[1] After Tengeru, Kikwete moved to Kibaha Secondary School for his O-levels, which took place between 1966 and 1969, and he remained at this school for his advanced level education.[1] His final educational step was completed when he graduated from the University of Dar es Salaam in 1975 with a degree in economics.[1]

Leadership and political career

Kikwete was born at Msoga, located in the Bagamoyo District of Tanganyika, in 1950.

As a party cadre, Kikwete moved from one position to another in the party ranks and from one location to another in the service of the party. When TANU and the Zanzibar’s Afro-Shirazi Party (ASP) merged to form CCM in 1977, Kikwete was moved to Zanzibar and assigned the task of setting up the new party’s organisation and administration in the Islands. In 1980, he was moved to the headquarters as administrator of the Dar es Salaam Head Office and Head of the Defence and Security Department before moving again up-country to the regional and district party offices in Tabora Region (1981–84)and Singida Region and Nachingwea (1986–88) and Masasi District (1988) in the country's southern regions of Lindi and Mtwara respectively. In 1988 he was appointed to join the Central Government.

In 1994, at 44, he became one of the youngest Finance Ministers in the history of Tanzania. In December 1995, he became Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, being appointed by President Benjamin William Mkapaa of the third phase government. He held this post for ten years, until he was elected President of the United Republic of Tanzania in December 2005, hence becoming the country's longest serving foreign minister. During his tenure in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tanzania played a significant role in bringing about peace in the Great Lakes region, particularly in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Kikwete was also deeply involved in the process of rebuilding regional integration in East Africa. Specifically, several times, he was involved in a delicate process of establishing a Customs Union between the three countries of the East African Community (Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania), where, for quite some time, he was a Chairman of East Africa Community’s Council of Ministers.

Kikwete also participated in the initiation, and became a Co-Chair, of the Helsinki Process on Globalisation and Democracy. On May 4, 2005, Kikwete emerged victorious among 11 CCM members who had sought the party's nomination for Presidential candidacy in the general election. After a 14 December 2005 multiparty general election, he was declared a winner by the Electoral Commission on December 17, 2005 and was sworn-in as the Fourth President of the United Republic of Tanzania on 21 December 2005.

On 26 May 2013, Kikwete said at a meeting of the African Union that if President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) could negotiate with the March 23 Movement (M23), President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and President Paul Kagame of Rwanda should be able to negotiate with the Allied Democratic Forces-National Army for the Liberation of Uganda and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), respectively. In response, Museveni expressed his willingness to negotiate.[2]


Kikwete is an avid sports enthusiast and played basketball competitively in school. He has been a patron of the Tanzania Basketball Federation for the past 10 years.[1] He is married to Salma and they have nine children.[1]

As of 4 April 2013, Kikwete was the sixth most followed African leader on Twitter with 57,626 followers.[3]

Honours and awards


Order Country Year Ref
Most Excellent Order of the Pearl of Africa (Grand Master)  Uganda 2007 [4]
Order of the Green Crescent of the Comoros  Comoros 2009 [5]
Order of Abdulaziz Al Saud  Saudi Arabia 2009 [6]
Order of Excellence  Jamaica 2009 [7]
Order of Oman (First Class)  Oman 2012 [8]


  • Sullivan Honor
  • 2007: The AAI African National Achievement Award (on behalf of Tanzania).[9]
  • 2009: US Doctors for Africa Award.[10]
  • 2011: Social Good Award from the United Nations Foundation[11]
  • 2011: South-South Award for Global Health, Technology and Development[12]
  • 2012: FANRPAN Policy Leadership Award from the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network.[13]

Honorary degrees

University Country Degree Year Ref
University of St. Thomas (Minnesota)  United States Honorary Doctor of Law 2006 [14][15]
Kenyatta University  Kenya Doctor of Humane Letters 2008 [16]
Fatih University  Turkey Doctorate in International Relations 2010 [17]
Muhimbili University  Tanzania Doctor of Public Health (Honoris Causa) 2010 [18]
University of Dodoma  Tanzania Honoris Causa 2010 [19]
University of Dar es Salaam  Tanzania Honorary Doctor of Law 2011 [20]
University of Guelph  Canada Honorary Doctor of Law 2013 [21][22]




Further reading

External links

  • Twitter

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