Highlights

Samia Suluhu Hassan becomes Tanzania’s new president

New chapter of leadership in Tanzania as the first-ever female president, Samia Suluhu Hassan, took the oath of office

Tanzania’s Vice-President Samia Suluhu Hassan has taken his place as the country’s head of state.

First elected as Magufuli’s running mate in 2015, she was re-elected last year along with him and, according to the constitution, she should serve out the rest of the five-year term in the top job.

She becomes Africa’s only current female national leader – the Ethiopian presidency is a largely ceremonial role – and joins a short list of women on the continent to have run their countries.

The 61-year-old is affectionately known as Mama Samia – in Tanzanian culture that reflects the respect she is held in, rather than reducing her to a gendered role.

But she was a surprise choice for a running mate in 2015, leaping over several other more prominent politicians in the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party, which has been in power in one form or another since independence in 1961.

First elected to a public office in 2000, she came to national prominence in 2014 as the vice-chairperson of the Constituent Assembly, created to draft a new constitution. There her calm demeanour in managing occasional outbreaks of pandemonium and the way in which she dealt with some of the more outspoken members earned her plaudits.

In terms of personality she strikes a contrast with Magufuli.

Where he appeared impulsive, not afraid to speak off the cuff and let his feelings be known, she is more thoughtful and considered.

She is also said to be a good listener who believes in following the correct procedures.

Africa’s previous female heads of state

1993-4 – Sylvie Kinigi – caretaker President of Burundi, following the killing of Melchior Ndadaye

1996-7 – Ruth Perry – chair of Council of State after Liberia’s first civil war

2006-18 – Ellen Johnson Sirleaf – elected President of Liberia

2009 – Rose Francine Rogombé – Interim President of Gabon following the death of Omar Bongo

2012 – Monique Ohsan-Bellepeau – Acting President of Mauritius, after the resignation of Sir Anerood Jugnauth

2012-14 – Joyce Banda – President of Malawi, after the death of Bingu wa Mutharika

2014-6 – Catherine Samba-Panza – transitional President of Central African Republic, elected by parliament

2015-8 – Ameenah Gurib-Fakim – President of Mauritius, elected by parliament

2018-present – Sahle-Work Zewde – President of Ethiopia, elected by parliament

~Wakenya Canada

Leave a Comment

UA-0000000-0
%d bloggers like this:
Skip to toolbar