Tanzania now has its first female President with the ascension of Samia Hassan Suluhu to the high office. Until Wednesday night, she was the vice president of the country that has been led for the past five years by John Magufuli. Following the death of President Magufuli, which was announced by Suluhu, she now becomes the country’s first female president and also the first in East Africa.
BREAKING: Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli is dead. Vice president Samia Suluhu says Magufuli succumbed to heart disease in Dar Es Salaam #RIPMagufuli pic.twitter.com/h9fl8ZpHYQ — The African Voice (@teddyeugene) March 17, 2021
Suluhu, a Muslim will also be the first female of that religious faith to serve in the capacity as President of Tanzania.
What the constitution says
Per Article 37 (5) of the constitution of Tanzania, “Where the office of the President becomes vacant by reason of death 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 the president, then the vice president shall be sworn in and become the president for the unexpired period of the term of five years……..”
Samia Hassan Suluhu will now be in power as President until 2025 when the country goes to the polls again to elect a new president. Tanzania’s President Samia Hassan Suluhu, inspecting a guard of honour while serving as vice president. She became Tanzania‘s first female Vice President on November 5, 2015 when John Magufuli became president.
Before her tenure as vice-president she served as the Member of Parliament for Makunduchi constituency from 2010 to 2015. Suluhu was also the Minister of State in the Vice-President’s Office for Union Affairs from 2010 to 2015.
Prior to this, she served as a minister in the semi-autonomous region of Zanzibar in the administration of President Amani Karume. In 2014, she was elected as the Vice Chairperson of the Constituent Assembly tasked with drafting the country’s new constitution. Suluhu born in 1960 now becomes the 6th President of Tanzania and the first Zanzibari president.