Samia Suluhu: Tanzania to get first female President

In Summary

• Tanzania Constitution says the vice-president is to be sworn in as president for the remainder of the term.

• Samia Hassan Suluhu is set to become the second female head of state in the East African region.

Tanzania vice-president Samia Suluhu Hassan
Tanzania vice-president Samia Suluhu Hassan

Tanzania is set to get its first female president following the death of John Pombe Magufuli on Wednesday night.

Samia Hassan Suluhu, who became the first female vice-president when Magufuli was elected in 2015 is now set to be sworn in as president.

According to the Tanzania Constitution; "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."

The same may also happen if a vacancy occurs due to 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 President.

After consultation with her political party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi, Suluhu will then propose the name of the person who shall be Vice-President.

Such appointment shall be confirmed by the National Assembly by votes of not less than fifty per cent of all the Members of Parliament.

In a televised address on Wednesday night, Tanzania vice-president Samia Suluhu Hassan said that Magufuli had died of heart complications.

Born on January 27, 1960, Suluhu was an MP for Makunduchi constituency from 2010 to 2015 and has been Minister of State in the Vice-President's Office for Union Affairs since 2010.

Suluhu was born in the Sultanate of Zanzibar and after completing her secondary education in 1977, she was employed by the Ministry of Planning and Development as a clerk.

She schooled in Zanzibar and studied statistics at the Zanzibar Institute of Financial Administration.

Suluhu later joined Mzumbe University where she studied Public Administration before joining the Institute of Management for Leaders, Hyderabad in India for a course in management.

Later, she went to the United Kingdom where she did a postgraduate diploma in economics at the University of Manchester.

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.

Ther daughter Mwanu Hafidh Ameir is a member of the Zanzibar House of Representatives.