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Samia Suluhu sworn in as Tanzania's first female president

By Jael Mboga and Betty Njeru | March 19th 2021
Samia Suluhu Hassan sworn in as the sixth President of Tanzania at State House, Dar es Salaam. [Courtesy:TBC)

Samia Suluhu Hassan has been sworn in as the new President of Tanzania.

She takes over from John Magufuli, who succumbed to heart failure on Wednesday.

She will be the East African nation’s first female president, joining a thin list of women in the continent in the top job.

In a black skirt suit and a red hijab she was sworn in by Judge Ibrahim Juma in a ceremony witnessed by former presidents Jakaya Kikwete and Hassam Mwinyi, the Speaker of the National assembly and other dignitaries.

After the swearing-in ceremony, President Suluhu Hassan inspected a guard of honour.

The new president will later on chair a Cabinet meeting with the next task in her in-tray being the choocing of her Vice President who must be okayed by the ruling party CCM.

Samia Suluhu Hassan at a past event in Tanga, March 16, 2021.

According to Tanzania's constitution, where the office of president becomes vacant by reason of death or resignation, loss of electoral qualifications or inability to perform his functions due to physical infirmity, or failure to discharge the duties and functions of the office of president, then the vice-president shall be sworn in and become the president for the unexpired period of the term of five years.

In accordance with the conditions set out in Article 40, and, after consultation with the political party to which he belongs, the president shall propose the name of the person who shall be vice-president, and such appointment shall be confirmed by the national assembly by votes of not less than 50 percent of all the MPs.

Since Suluhu is from Zanzibar, the person chosen to be her deputy needs to be from the mainland. Further, if Suluhu stays on as President for three or more years she will be allowed to run again for the presidency only once.

Suluhu is supposed to propose a name for the new Vice President, who will be confirmed by way of vote by the National Assembly.

She now becomes Tanzania’s sixth president.

Suluhu first joined active politics in 2000 when she was elected as a member of the Zanzibar House of Representatives for a special seat.

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

In 2014, former President Jakaya Kikwete appointed her Minister of State in the Vice-President's Office for Union Affairs.

She was also elected the Vice-chairperson for the Constitutional Assembly in the same year– the body tasked with drafting the country’s new constitution.

In July 2015, the presidential candidate of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party, Magufuli, chose her as his running mate ahead of the country’s 2015 General Elections.

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

Tanzania is observing 14 days of mourning following Magufuli’s death on Wednesday. Flags will fly at half-mast to honor the fallen leader.

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