Tanzania’s Vice President, Samia Hassan Suluhu is set to be sworn-in on Friday 19 March as the country’s leader, following the death of President John Pombe Magufuli on Wednesday night.
Magufuli, 61, succumbed to heart complications from Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute where he had been hospitalized for two weeks.
Described as a pan-africanist, Magufuli became President of Tanzania in 2015 before being voted for the second 5-year term in October last year with a landslide victory of more than 84% of the vote.
He died barely 6 months into his second term of office as President. Under the circumstances, the country’s supreme law, provides for the Vice President to complete the five-year term of the deceased head of state.
“Where the office of President becomes vacant by reason of death, then the Vice-President shall be sworn in and become the President for the unexpired period of the term of five years.”
This consequently means that Suluhu is going to be sworn-in as President. She will as well appoint her Vice President who will be subject to approval by the country’s national assembly.
After swearing in, Samia Hassan Suluhu will become the second female elected Vice President to assume office of President in Africa and fifith substantive female President in Africa after Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia,Joyce Banda of Malawi, A Gurib-Fakim of Mauritius and Sahle-Work Zewde of Ethiopia.
She is the fifth substantive female president in Africa because the five other other female presidents served in acting capacity.
Born in 1960 in the Sultanate of Zanzibar, Suluhu holds a postgraduate degree in economics among other qualifications.
She was a member of parliament for the Makunduchi constituency from 2010 to 15 and Minister of State in the Vice-President’s Office for Union Affairs since 2010.
In 2014, she served as the vice-chairperson for the Constitutional Assembly which was tasked with drafting Tanzania’s new constitution.
Suluhu is married to Hafidh Ameir, a retired agriculture officer, and together they have three sons and a daughter.
Their daughter Mwanu Hafidh Ameir is a member of the Zanzibar House of Representatives.