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Memoirs by Tanzania’s second president

In May 2021, memoirs by the H.E. Ali Hassan Mwinyi, second President of the United Republic of Tanzania, titled “Mzee Rukhsa: Safari ya Maisha Yangu”, were launched. Through his book, the former President wishes to offer Tanzanians a better understanding of their history as well as the context in which certain decisions were made for the country during his presidency.

President Samia Suluhu Hassan considers H.E. Mwinyi as the ‘Father’ of Tanzania’s revolution. During the launching ceremony, she observed:

When President Mwinyi entered office, the country was experiencing a deep recession brought about by various factors, including the rise of oil prices in 1973, drought in 1975, the collapse of the East African Community, the Kagera war and tough conditions imposed by development partners plus international financial institutions. All of these resulted in an acute shortage of dollars, leading to lack of essential commodities such as food items, clothes and spare parts. He was the one who led economic reforms that ushered in a free market economy… and political reforms that introduced a multi-party system in 1992. Therefore, I think it’s right to say that President Mwinyi is the father of our revolution.

Having read ‘Mzee Rukhsa’ twice, President Hassan stated that there are many lessons to learn from it, including the importance of leading with humility, empathy and commitment; as well as the power of owning your mistakes.

Mzee Rukhsa was published through UONGOZI Institute’s leadership memoirs project. It is available to the users of the Institute’s Resource Centre in Dar es Salaam and Dodoma. To purchase a copy, please visit Mkuki na Nyota, or African Books Collective.