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Muslim-Christianity ties that bind Suluhu's choice for deputy

By Mate Tongola | March 19th 2021

After being sworn in as the 6th President of Tanzania taking charge of the country that is still mourning their President John Pombe Magufuli, all eyes will be on who she will choose as her deputy.

61-year-old Samia Suluhu (pictured) who is affectionately known as Mama Samia, in line with the Tanzanian culture that reflects the respect she is held in, was first elected as Magufuli’s running mate in 2015 and got re-elected last year alongside Magufuli, during the hotly contested general elections.

Being a Muslim, she is expected to name a Christian to be her deputy, if the trend in the Tanzanian leadership history is anything to go by.

According to the political trajectory of Tanzania, when the head of state is a Christian, his deputy is a Muslim and vice versa. Many see it as a move to balance the religious aspect in the culturally eclectic and largely homogeneous society that is extremely rich in age-old cultures and traditions.

History reveals that Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere – a Christian who was the Prime Minister of the then Tanganyika from 1961 to 1962 before leading to its successor state, Tanzania as President from 1964 to 1985, was succeeded by Ali Hassan Mwinyi – a Muslim.

After Mwinyi’s 10 year rule, he was succeeded by Benjamin Mkapa – a Christian who passed on mid-last year in Dar es Salaam after serving for a decade. Mkapa was succeeded by Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete – a Muslim who ruled between 2005 and 2015 and handed over the baton to the now-late John Pombe Magufuli – a Christian.

Will, Suluhu, the only current female political head of government now the President of Tanzania choose a Christian as her deputy to balance the rich history between the Christian and Muslim leadership equation?

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