Soft spoken Tanzania Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan is on the verge of making history as the first female President in East Africa, following the death of President John Pombe Magufuli.
Ms Hassan made history in Tanzania when she was named the first female running mate on Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party ticket in 2005. She has been President Magufuli’s deputy since then.
Following Magufuli’s death which she announce on televised address, focus has shifted on unavoidable transition where she is expected to assume the reigns of power as per the constitution in Tanzania.
US based Kenyan law scholar Prof Makau Mutua tweeted “Barring any suprises, VP Samia Suluhu Hassan will become the first female president in East Africa, afetr the untimely passing of President Magufuli from Covid-19”
Article 37 (2) of Tanzanian Constitution states that when the cabinet finds that the president is unable to discharge the functions of his office by reason of physical or mental infirmity, it may submit to the chief justice a resolution requesting him to certify the president’s incapacity.
The Magufuli – Suluhu CCM ticket that won the 2015 presidential elections in Tanzania
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.
Ms Suluhu 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.
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.
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.
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 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.