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Tanzania Gets First Female President Samia Suluhu Hassan

 Samia Suluhu Hassan (born 27 January 1960) has been sworn in as Tanzania's first female and sixth President. She is a member of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party. Suluhu is the third female head of government of an East African Community (EAC) country, after Sylvie Kinigi in Burundi and Agathe Uwilingiyimana in Rwanda, and is also the first female president of Tanzania. She took office on 19 March 2021 after the death of the previous president, John Magufuli, on March 17. Hassan, 61, took the oath of office at a ceremony in Dar es Salaam on Friday.

 

A native of Zanzibar, Suluhu served as a minister in the semi-autonomous region during the administration of President Amani Karume. She served as the Member of Parliament for the Makunduchi constituency from 2010 to 2015 and was the Minister of State in the Vice-President's Office for Union Affairs from 2010 to 2015. In 2014, she was elected as the Vice-Chairperson of the Constituent Assembly tasked with the drafting of the country's new constitution.

Suluhu became Tanzania's first female vice-president following the 2015 general election, after being elected on the CCM ticket with President Magufuli. Suluhu and Magufuli were re-elected to a second term in 2020. She briefly served as the second female interim Head of State in the EAC – 27 years after Sylvie Kinigi of Burundi, spanning a period around the end of the year 1993.

 

Education 

Suluhu graduated from the Institute of Development Management (present-day Mzumbe University) with an advanced diploma in public administration. Between 1992 and 1994, she attended the University of Manchester and earned 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.

 

Political Career

In 2000, Samia Suluhu Hassan decided to run for public office. She was elected as a special seat member to the Zanzibar House of Representatives and was appointed a minister by President Amani Karume. She was the only high-ranking woman minister in the cabinet and was "looked down on" by her male colleagues because of her sex. She was re-elected in 2005 and was re-appointed as a minister in another portfolio.

In 2010, she sought election to the National Assembly, standing in the parliamentary constituency of Makunduchi, and won by more than 80%. President Jakaya Kikwete appointed her as the Minister of State for Union Affairs. In 2014, she was elected as the Vice Chairperson of the Constituent Assembly tasked with drafting the country's new constitution.

 

 

In July 2015, CCM's presidential nominee John Magufuli chose her as his running mate for the 2015 election, making her the first female running mate in the party's history. On 5 November 2015 she subsequently became the first female vice-president in the history of the country upon Magufuli's victory in the election. Both Magufuli and Suluhu were re-elected for a second five-year term on 28 October 2020.

 

On 17 March 2021, Vice President Suluhu announced that  President John Magufuli had died after a long illness; Magufuli had not been seen in public since late February. She was sworn in as his successor on 19 March 2021, and will serve the balance of Magufuli's second five-year term.

 

 

Africa Team

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