Rumours about President Magufuli’s health illuminated Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan from the background she had operated from for the last five years she has been Tanzania’s vice president.
When she made the public announcement of President Magufuli’s passing, it became apparent that she was taking over as the next president of Tanzania.
As a Zanzibari and Muslim woman, Ms Suluhu’s presidency will carry the weight of having to prove a point in the mainland Tanzania, a country that has battled male chauvinism and dotted with religious conflicts and mistrust between the mainland Tanzania and the Sultanate of Zanzibar.
We look at 25 quick facts about the trailblazer:She is 61-years-old and was born on January 27, 1960 She is from the Sultanate of Zanzibar, where she had her primary and secondary school education Studied statistics at Zanzibar Institute of Financial Administration Worked as a clerk in the Ministry of Planning and Development after college. She also had a stint at World Food Programme working on project in 1992 She has a master degree in community economic development from a joint program between Open University of Tanzania Southern New Hampshire University, USA She has a postgraduate diploma in Economics from Manchester University She is married to an agriculture officer and together they have four children, three boys and a girl Her daughter is also a politician and is a member of the Zanzibar House of Representatives She has been in active politics for 20 years. She was first elected to the House of Representative in Zanzibar in 2000 Served as minister in President Amar’s Zanzibar from 2000 to 2010 Joined the National Assembly in 2010 as the MP for Makanduchi constituency Served as Minister in the office of Vice President during President Jakaya Kikwete’s final term She is the first Zanzibari to hold the office of Vice President in United Republic of Tanzania She was a vice-chair of the Constituent Assembly – body tasked with drafting the country’s new constitution She was the first female running mate on a CCM party ticket She is the first female VP of Tanzania and only the second in East Africa She has been the face of Tanzania at international meetings since 2015 (The President hardly traveled out of the country) She is Tanzania’s first female president and the country’s sixth president She is East Africa’s second female president after Sylvie Kinigi of Burudi She is the second woman to head a country in East Africa She is the first Zanzibari after Ali Hassan Mwinyi to lead the United Republic Tanzania As President, she will choose to appoint her own cabinet and even change some of Dr Magufuli’s policies She is the second serving female president in Eastern Africa after Ethiopia’s Sahle-Work Zewde. However, Ms Zewde’s post is ceremonial She is eligible to contest for another five-year term as president as this will deemed her first term Her ascent to power will be the first time Tanzania is changing leaders outside of elections