Samia Suluhu to take over from Magufuli as President; Who is she?
Following the death of Tanzania’s president John Pombe Magufuli, vice president Samia Hassan Suluhu will become the designated President of the country. Suluhu who is serving her second term as vice president has had a long political career dating back to 2000.
The 61 years old, 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 she 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.
Upon graduation, she was employed on a project funded by the World Food Program. Between 1992 and 1994, she attended the University of Manchester and graduated with a postgraduate diploma in economics. In 2015, she obtained her MSc in Community Economic Development via a joint-program between the Open University of Tanzania and the Southern New Hampshire University.
Suluhu made her political debut in the year 2000. She was elected as a special seat member to the Zanzibar House of Representatives and was appointed a minister by President Amani Karume. She was the only high-ranking woman minister in the cabinet. While this was a fete never achieved before, due to societal gender stereotypes, Suluhu had to fight for her place at the decision making table.
In the year 2005, she was re-elected and was re-appointed as a minister in another portfolio.
In 2010, she sought election to the National Assembly, vying in the parliamentary constituency of Makunduchi and won by more than 80 percent. Former Tanzania President Dr. Jakaya Kikwete appointed her as the Minister of State for Union Affairs.
In 2014, Kikwete 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, Chama Cha Mapinduzi’s leader and the late Magufuli chose her as his running mate for the 2015 election, making her the first female running mate in the party’s history. She subsequently became the first female Vice President in Tanzania’s history when Magufuli won by a landslide in his first win as the President.
Together with the late Magufuli, they vied for a second term in office winning the elections by 84 percent. On November 5, 2020, Suluhu took an oath of office to serve Tanzania as its Vice President.
Following President Magufuli’s death on March 17, 2021, Suluhu becomes the sixth President of Tanzania, the first Zanzibari president and the country’s first female president not just in Tanzania but East Africa.
Suluhu is married to Hafidh Ameir and together they have three sons and a daughter. While her husband is a retired agriculture officer, her daughter Mwanu Hafidh Ameir, is the only one in the family who has followed her political footsteps. Mwanu is a member of the Zanzibar House of Representatives.