Following President John Pombe Magufuli’s sudden demise, Tanzania’s constitution states that the Vice-President, Samia Suluhu would take over for the remainder of the term.
Samia Suluhu Hassan was the one to announce Magufuli’s death, laying to rest weeks of speculations on his health.
The Tanzania constitution states:
“Where the office of the President becomes vacant because of deaths, then the Vice-President shall be sworn in and become President for the unexpired period of the five-year term.”
Female Presidents in Africa
If she gets sworn in as Tanzania’s new President, Samia Suluhu will become the first-ever female President in Tanzania. She would also be the first woman President in the East Africa Community (Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania).
However, extended to the broader Eastern Africa region, she will become the third female President after current Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde and former Burundian acting President Sylvie Kiningi, who was then the Prime Minister (1993).
In Africa, Suluhu will become the tenth Female President. However, her swearing-in would continue a trend of female Presidents taking reigns either after the President’s death or resignation.
Samia Suluhu’s Brief Profile
Born on January 27, 1960, in Zanzibar, Suluhu completed her education in 1997. Afterward, she began taking short courses part-time at Zanzibar Institute of Financial Administration. She got appointed as a clerk in the office of the Planning and Development Ministry.
She graduated with an Advanced Diploma in Public Administration while working at the Ministry. Suluhu graduated from Mzumbe University and landed a job at World Food Programme almost immediately.
She would later earn a postgraduate diploma in economics from the University of Manchester in 1994.
She joined active politics in 2000, getting elected to the Zanzibar House of Representatives, holding a special seat. It was here that then Zanzibar President Abeid Amani appointed her to the cabinet.
In 2010, she stepped into the National Assembly by winning the Makunduchi Parliamentary seat, getting 80% of the votes.
Then, Tanzania’s former President, Jakaya Kikwete, appointed Samia Suluhu as Minister of State Union Affairs in his final term. In 2014, she served as vice-chairperson of the Constitution Assembly, whose task was to draft Tanzania’s new constitution.
Magufuli picked her as her running mate in 2015, becoming the first female running mate in CCM history.
— Citizen TV Kenya (@citizentvkenya) March 18, 2021