Former Tanzanian President Mr. Benjamin Mkapa, was honoured by the University of Cape Coast (UCC) last week Friday, for his distinguished service to humanity, as part of the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Lectures.
He was given a doctor of letters degree at a colourful ceremony, which brought students and other distinguished guests together, at the university's Science Auditorium.
He was decorated by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang, and the Chairman of the UCC Council, Dr. Charles Mensah.
He was given a certificate and citation, which described him as an accomplished journalist, diplomat, politician, democrat, peace-maker, human rights advocate, promoter of good governance, statesman, role model and distinguished former President of the United Republic of Tanzania.
The honour served as the climax of a three-day lecture series, addressed by Mr. Mkapa on the themes, “Re-thinking the political, social and economic paradigm of African development;” “The first 40 years: a flawed development dependence model,” and “Developing in dignity: self-reliance, an Afro-centric strategy.”
Mr. Mkapa, who turns 70 on November 12 this year, aroused the spirit of the students as he espoused the ideals of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, first President of Ghana.
He said Nkrumah would weep if he were to witness the kind of leadership Africans were having today, contrary to the ideals he stood for.
Mkapa called on African leaders to fashion out African-oriented economic, social and political policies that would enhance development of the continent.
He charged the African media to portray Africa in a good light, rather than following the western media to portray Africa as a poor continent.
Mr. Mkapa said the African media should set their own agenda, and stop destroying Africa's image with bad stories, and also urged students of the university to refrain from the old thinking that Africa was poor, and everything connected to Africa was bad.
After receiving the awards, Mr. Mkapa said he was impressed by the warm reception given him by the university, and pledged to contribute to itse development.
Prof. Nana Opoku-Agyemang, on her part, said Mkapa epitomized the ideals of Kwame Nkrumah, and that was why the award was bestowed on him.
She said he was the first East African personality to receive the honourary award, and the 33rd person.
The University Basic School Regimental Band and Mensoun Troop, as well as the UCC Choir, thrilled the audience with patriotic songs and cultural displays.
Rev. Dawson Amoah, UCC Chaplain, caught the eyes of the students, when he gave anti-colonial prayer before the start of the programme, which received large applause.