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Interesting facts about Tanzania's Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan

Achieving Woman
 H.E. Samia Suluhu Hassan has been representing Tanzania in most international meetings (Courtesy)

Since he was sworn into office in 2015, President Magufuli had only traveled out of Tanzania eight times and never leaving Africa. He only traveled to the neighbouring countries of Kenya, Rwanda, Namibia, South Africa, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Uganda – the only country he has visited twice.

What this has meant over the years is that his vice-president, Samia Suluhu Hassan, has been the face of Tanzania in most of the international meetings. She represented Tanzania at all UN, AU, SADC and EAC meetings held outside Tanzania.

Interesting to note, President Magufuli’s last public appearance was during a virtual East African Heads of State meeting where he appeared but only for the introduction and then left Hon. Suluhu to continue with the rest of the discussion.

So, who is this Tanzania’s most noticeable figure? We look at some of the things you might not know about Tanzania’s vice-president Samia Suluhu Hassan set to become president falling President Magufuli's demise:

She is 61

Suluhu was born on January 27, 1960 in the Sultanate of Zanzibar. She went to school in Zanzibar and studied statistics at the Zanzibar Institute of Financial Administration before getting employed by the Ministry of Planning and Development as a clerk.

In 1986 joined Mzumbe University for advanced studies in Public Administration before joining the Institute of Management for Leaders, Hyderabad in India or a course in management.

She also attended the University of Manchester for her postgraduate diploma in economic and in 2005 she did her master degree in community economic development through a joint program between Open University of Tanzania and Southern New Hampshire University, USA.

 H.E. Suluhu is a member of the CCM party (Courtesy)
She’s been in politics since 2000

She was first elected as a member of the Zanzibar House of Representative for special seat in 2000, and was appointed Minister by then President Amani Abeid Karume of Zanzibar.

She was the only high-ranking woman minister in that cabinet.

Joined National Assembly in 2010

Suluhu was elected to the National Assembly in a landslide win in 2010 as the MP representing Makunduchi constituency, marking her entry into national electoral politics.

Joined cabinet in 2014

In 2014, President Dr. Jakaya Kikwete of the United Republic of Tanzania appointed her minister of State for Union matters for the office of the Vice President.

In the same year, she was also elected the Vive chairperson for the Constitutional Assembly – the body tasked with drafting the country’s new constitution.

The first female running mate on a CCM party ticket

In July 2015, the ruling party CCM’s presidential nominee Hon John Magufuli chose her as his running mate ahead of the country’s 2015 General Elections.

The second female vice-president in East Africa

The Magufuli-Suluhu ticket won the 2015 General Elections making her the first female vice-president in the region since Uganda’s Specioza Naigaga Wandira who was in office from 1994 to 2003.

 The Magufuli-Samia ticket won the 2015 elections and got re-elected in 2020 (Courtesy)
Her daughter is also a politician

Hon. Suluhu is married to Hafidh Ameir and together they have three sons and daughter. While her husband is a retired agriculture officer, her daughter Mwanu Hafidh Ameir, is the only one in the family who has followed in her political footsteps. Mwanu is a member of the Zanzibar House of Representatives.

Tanzania’s first female president

Following President Magufuli's demise on Wednesday 17 March,  all eyes fixed on his deputy, Hon. Suluhu, who stands to take over as the president until 2025. 

The Tanzanian constitution upholds that the vice president should step in as president if the incumbent is incapacitated either by physical or mental health or the office if president is left vacant following death of the office bearer.

Hon. Suluhu will now be the first fenmale president of Tanzania and the first president of the country hailing from Zanzibar.

The first female president in East Africa

When she gets sworn in as the President of Tanzania, Suluhu will only be the second woman to head an East African country.

Agathe Uwilingiyimanain was the first woman to head an East Africa country when she served as Prime Minister of Rwanda from July 18 1993 until her death in April 7 1994.

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