East Africa To Record First-Ever Female President, Samia Suluhu of Tanzania After Death of President John Magufuli

Meet Samia Suluhu Hassan, Tanzania’s first ever female vice president
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Tanzania Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan, who is set to become the first female President in East Africa

Following the death of President John Pombe Magufuli, Soft Spoken Tanzania Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan is poised to become the first female President in East Africa.

When Ms Hassan was named the first female running mate on the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party ticket in 2005, she made history in Tanzania. Since then, she has served as President Magufuli's deputy.

Following Magufuli's death, which she announced in a televised address, attention has shifted to the unavoidable transition, in which she is expected to assume power in accordance with Tanzania's constitution.

US based Kenyan law scholar Prof Makau Mutua tweeted
“Barring any suprises, VP Samia Suluhu Hassan will become the first female president in East Africa, afetr the untimely passing of President Magufuli from Covid-19”


The Magufuli – Suluhu CCM ticket that won the 2015 presidential elections in Tanzania

About VP Samia Suluhu

Article 37 (2) of the Tanzanian Constitution states that when the cabinet finds that the president is unable to discharge the functions of his office by reason of physical or mental infirmity, it may submit to the chief justice a resolution requesting him to certify the president’s incapacity.

Suluhu was born in the Sultanate of Zanzibar on January 27, 1960. She attended Zanzibar schools and studied statistics at the Zanzibar Institute of Financial Administration before working as a clerk for the Ministry of Planning and Development.

In 1986, he began advanced studies in public administration at Mzumbe University before enrolling in a management course at the Institute of Management for Leaders in Hyderabad, India.

She has received a postgraduate diploma in economics from the University of Manchester, and in 2005, she completed a master's degree in community economic development through a joint program between the Open University of Tanzania and Southern New Hampshire University in the United States.

Ms Suluhu was first elected to the Zanzibar House of Representatives for a special seat in 2000, and by then-President Amani Abeid Karume of Zanzibar, she was named Minister.

She was the cabinet's only high-ranking female official.

Suluhu was elected to the National Assembly as the MP for Makunduchi constituency in a landslide victory in 2010, marking her first foray into national electoral politics.

President Dr. Jakaya Kikwete of the United Republic of Tanzania named her the Vice President's Minister of State for Union Affairs in 2014.

She was also elected Vice chairperson of the Constitutional Assembly, the body charged with drafting the country's new constitution, in the same year.

Samia Suluhu Hassan was sworn in as Tanzania's vice-president on November 5, 2015. With her election, she became the country's first ever female vice president. Photo: Courtesy of Samia Suluhu Hassan

Hon John Magufuli, the ruling party's presidential candidate, selected her as his running mate ahead of the country's 2015 General Elections in July 2015.

Magufuli-Suluhu won the 2015 General Elections, making her the region's first female vice-president since Uganda's Specioza Naigaga Wandira, who served from 1994 to 2003.