Samia Suluhu Hassan

Samia Suluhu Hassan: Tanzania’s first female President

By Abankula

Samia Suluhu Hassan will become from today Tanzania’s new president, following the death of President John Magufuli on Wednesday.

She will be making history, as the first woman to be president in Tanzania and in east Africa.

Hassan, now 61, had also made history, when she became the first female vice-president in 2015.

She will complete Magufuli’s five-year second term, which he began in November 2020.

President Hassan was born in the semi-autonomous archipelago of Zanzibar on 27 January, 1960.

And she now makes another record as the first Tanzanian president from Zanzibar.

After completing her secondary education in 1977, she got married in 1978 and now has four children, one of whom, her second daughter, is a parliamentarian in Zanzibar.

Hassan’s first job after secondary school, was as a clerk in the Ministry of Planning and Development.

According to a profile published in Wikipedia, she pursued a number of short-courses on a part-time basis.

In 1986, she graduated from the Institute of Development Management (present-day Mzumbe University) with an advanced diploma in public administration.

Upon graduation, she was employed on a project funded by the World Food Programme.

Between 1992 and 1994, 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 2000, she decided to join politics.

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 gender.

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 winning 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.

She subsequently became the first female vice-president in the history of the country upon Magufuli’s victory in the election.

After Magufuli’s death on 17 March 2021, Suluhu automatically became the 6th President of Tanzania, the first Zanzibari president and the country’s first female president.

Hassan was the chief mourner for Magufuli as she announced his death.

She said Magufuli was admitted on March 6 to Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute for heart problems and discharged the next day.

A week later he felt bad and was rushed to Mzena Hospital where he was getting treatment under supervision of doctors from the cardiac institute, she said.

“Dear Tanzanians, it is sad to announce that today 17 March 2021 around 6 p.m. we lost our brave leader, President John Magufuli who died from heart disease at Mzena hospital in Dar es Salaam where he was getting treatment,” she said on state broadcaster TBC.