Tanzania’s Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan was sworn in on Friday March 19, 2021 as the country’s 6th President becoming the country’s first female president after the sudden death of President John Pombe Magufuli.
61 year old Samia Hassan from Zanzibar has been vice president since 2015 and will serve out the rest Magufuli’s second five-year term, set to run until 2025.
Hassan was sworn in at a ceremony in Dar es Salaam, where neither she nor the majority of attendees wore a mask, in the Covid-sceptic nation. She becomes the only other current female head of state in Africa alongside Ethiopia’s President Sahle-Work Zewde whose role is however ceremonial.
Hassan was born in January 1960 on Zanzibar – the semi-autonomous islands off the coast of mainland Tanzania. She studied public administration, first in Tanzania and then as a post-graduate at UK’s Manchester University.
In 1978, she married Hafidh Ameir, who is known to be an agricultural academic but has also kept a low profile. Since Samia became vice-president, the two have not been pictured together. They have four children including Mwanu Hafidh Ameir, who is a member of Zanzibar House of Representatives.
Ina brief speech after her swearing in President Samia called for unity adding that its time to bury our differences, and stand united as a country. “This is not a time for finger pointing, but it’s a time to hold hands and move forward together,” she said, addressing a crowd of current and former officials that included two former presidents and uniformed military officers.