Woman becomes Tanzania’s first female President

Samia Suluhu Hassan, Tanzania President

Tanzania’s Vice President, Samia Suluhu Hassan, is set to take over the nation’s leadership as the first female President following the death of President John Magufuli on Wednesday.

Magufuli, 61, died from a heart condition at a hospital in Dar es Salaam, according to a state address by the Vice-President Hassan on Wednesday evening.

Vice President Hassan will be making history, as the first woman to be Tanzanian President in east Africa.

She is required to be sworn in within the next 24 hours. As indicated by the law, she will not be acting President, but will assume full control as head of state and can elect her own cabinet and even change some of the policies of Dr Magufuli.

In accordance with the Tanzanian Constitution; “Where the office of President becomes vacant by reason of death, then the Vice-President shall be sworn in and become the President for the unexpired period of the term of five years.”

After she is sworn in, Hassan will become the second female head of state in East Africa, after Sylvie Kinigi who was the acting President in Burundi between October 1993 and February 1994.

As indicated by the law, the Vice President in discussion with her political party will then recommend a new Vice President, “and such appointment shall be confirmed by the National Assembly by votes of not less than fifty percent of all the Members of Parliament.”

Samia Hassan Suluhu was born 27 January 1960. She is a Tanzanian CCM politician and the designated President of Tanzania due to be sworn into office following the death of President John Magufuli on 17 March 2021.

She became Tanzania’s first female Vice-President following the 2015 General election, after being elected on the CCM ticket along with President John Magufuli.

Suluhu and Magufuli were reelected to a second term in 2020. Before her tenure as Vice-President she served as the Member of Parliament for Makunduchi constituency from 2010 to 2015, and was also the Minister of State in the Vice-President’s Office for Union Affairs from 2010 to 2015.

In 1986, she graduated from Mzumbe with an advanced diploma in public administration. She attended the University of Manchester and graduated with a postgraduate diploma in economics.

In 2015, she obtained her MSc in Community Economic Development via a joint-programme between the Open University of Tanzania and the Southern New Hampshire University.

In 1978, she married Hafidh Ameir, at present a retired agricultural officer. They have four children.

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