John Magufuli’s successor, Samia Suluhu Hassan, was sworn in on Friday, becoming the first woman to preside over Tanzania’s affairs.
As provided for in the Tanzanian Constitution, the Vice President, Samia Suluhu Hassan, is to take over and complete the term of office of President John Magufuli who died on Wednesday. The swearing-in ceremony of the new President took place on Friday in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s economic capital and largest city.
« I, Samia Suluhu Hassan, promise to be honest and to obey and protect the Tanzanian Constitution, » said the new President, who joins the very short list of female heads of state in Africa. She has been a member of parliament, a minister, but above all she has built a reputation on the Tanzanian political scene by becoming, in 2014, vice-president of the Constituent Assembly, in charge of drafting the country’s new Constitution. In July 2015, Presidential candidate John Magufuli nominated her as his running mate for the Chama Cha Mapinduzi Party (CCM). The duo won the election, and Samia Suhulu Hassan became Tanzania’s first female vice-president.
According to some of those close to her, Samia Suluhu is seen as a competent executive who can successfully carry out her new duties. « I have closely observed her work ethic, her decision making and her temperament. She is a very capable leader, » said January Makamba, a member of parliament who has worked alongside her in the office of the vice-president.
The questions now are whether the new President will follow in the footsteps of her predecessor. Will she continue with Magufuli’s authoritarian look? And what will be her attitude to the Covid-19 pandemic that Magufuli trivialised so much? Samia Suluhu Hassan knows that she is expected to address these fundamental issues.
Married to Hafidh Ameir, an academic specialising in agriculture, this 61-year-old economist from the semi-autonomous archipelago of Zanzibar is the mother of four children, one of whom, Mwanu Hafidh Ameir, born in 1982, is a member of the Zanzibar House of Representatives.