Dar es Salaam, April 27: Hashim Mbita, a Tanzanian army general and the icon of the southern Africa liberation struggle, died at the age of 74 on Sunday after a long illness.
The East African nation's State House in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam said in a statement that Mbita, the retired executive secretary of the Organisation of the African Unity (OAU) Liberation Committee died at the Lugalo Military Hospital, Xinhua reported.
Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete said in the statement that he received news of the death of the African liberation icon on arrival at the national stadium in the morning where he graced celebrations marking the 51st anniversary of the union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar that was formed in 1964.
"The late Brigadier General Hashim Mbita served as the OAU Liberation Committee executive secretary for two decades during which he was at the forefront of the liberation of most of southern African countries from colonial regimes," said Kikwete.
"There was no freedom fighter in Angola, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique and South Africa who did not know the immense contribution made by Mbita," he said.
Mbita served as OAU Liberation Committee executive secretary for 20 years from 1974 until his mission was accomplished when the democratic elections was held in South Africa in 1994.
Kikwete said that the last occupation Mbita did was to oversee the Hashim Mbita Project which was launched in Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe in October 2014 during the 34th summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) heads of state and government.
It was during this summit when Zimbabwe conferred Mbita with the Royal Order of Munhumutapa in recognition of his contribution towards the liberation struggle.
During his lifetime, Mbita also served in various leadership capacities, including army officer with the Tanzania People's Defence Forces (TPDF), press secretary to founding president Nyerere and a politician.