Soft spoken Vice President, Samia Suluhu Hassan, is on the verge of making history as she assumes office as the President of Tanzania to complete the remaining five-year term that late President Magufuli began last year after winning a second term.
She would be the first female leader of her country. Like former President Joyce Banda in Malawi, Suluhu Hassan inherits the Presidency as a result of death.
Hassan, 61, had also made history, when she became the first female vice-president in 2015; and another record as the first Tanzanian president from Zanzibar.
President Hassan was born in the semi-autonomous archipelago of Zanzibar on 27 January, 1960.
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.
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, Hassan 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.
Hassan joined politics in 2000 and was elected as a special seat member to the Zanzibar House of Representatives.
Later 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.
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. She will be completing Magufuli’s five-year second term, which began in November 2020
Hassan, as the chief mourner for Magufuli, announced his death, “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.”
“The late President 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”, Hassan said on TBC.