On Wednesday night she had the duty of asserting to Tanzanians that President John Magufuli had died and now Vice-President Samia Suluhu Hassan has taken his place because the nation’s head of state.
First elected as Magufuli’s operating mate in 2015, she was re-elected final 12 months together with him and based on the structure, she ought to serve out the remainder of the five-year time period within the prime job.
She turns into Africa’s solely present feminine political head of presidency – the Ethiopian presidency is a largely ceremonial function – and joins a brief record of ladies on the continent who’ve made it to the highest.
The 61-year-old is affectionately often called Mama Samia – in Tanzanian tradition that displays the respect she is held in, somewhat than decreasing her to a gendered function.
However she was a shock selection for a operating mate in 2015, leaping over a number of different extra distinguished politicians within the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) social gathering, which has been in energy in a single type or one other since independence in 1961.
First elected to a public workplace in 2000, she got here to nationwide prominence in 2014 because the vice-chairperson of the Constituent Meeting, created to draft a brand new structure. There her calm manner in managing occasional outbreaks of pandemonium and the best way through which she handled a number of the extra outspoken members earned her plaudits.
By way of character she strikes a distinction with Magufuli.
The place he appeared impulsive, not afraid to talk off the cuff and let his emotions be identified, she is extra considerate and thought of.
She can be mentioned to be a great listener who believes in following the right procedures.
One MP, January Makamba, who labored together with her within the vice-president’s workplace, has known as her “essentially the most underrated politician in Tanzania”.
“I’ve noticed at shut quarters her work ethic, decision-making and temperament. She is a really succesful chief,” he mentioned.
However the place this locations her when it comes to coverage shouldn’t be but clear. Most importantly she has to determine whether or not to proceed her predecessor’s sceptical strategy to coping with coronavirus.
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There was little doubt that she was loyal to the president however she was not afraid to strike out on her personal.
Maybe essentially the most vital proof of that was in 2017 when she visited opposition chief Tundu Lissu in hospital within the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, after he had survived an assassination try.
With individuals speculating that state brokers had been concerned, the images of the go to despatched shockwaves by way of the nation.
Mr Lissu went into exile afterwards – returning briefly to participate in elections final 12 months – however went again to reside in Belgium, saying he had obtained extra loss of life threats.
Regardless of being vice-president since 2015, and having served as a state minister within the earlier authorities, little is understood about Ms Samia’s personal life.
She was born in January 1960 on Zanzibar – the semi-autonomous islands off the coast of mainland Tanzania. Later she went on to review public administration, first in Tanzania after which as a post-graduate at UK’s Manchester College.
In 1978, she married Hafidh Ameir, who is understood to be an agricultural tutorial however has additionally stored a low profile. Since Ms Samia turned vice-president, the 2 haven’t been pictured collectively.
They’ve 4 kids with one, Mwanu Hafidh Ameir, who’s at the moment a member of Zanzibar Home of Representatives.
African feminine presidents
1993-1994 – Sylvie Kinigi – caretaker President of Burundi, following the killing of Melchior Ndadaye
2006-2018 – Ellen Johnson Sirleaf – elected President of Liberia
2009 – Rose Francine Rogombé – Interim President of Gabon following the loss of life of Omar Bongo
2012 – Monique Ohsan-Bellepeau – Performing President of Mauritius, after the resignation of Sir Anerood Jugnauth
2012-2014 – Joyce Banda – President of Malawi, after the loss of life of Bingu wa Mutharika
2014-2016 – Catherine Samba-Panza – transitional President of Central African Republic, elected by parliament
2015-2018 – Ameenah Gurib-Fakim – President of Mauritius, elected by parliament
2018-present – Sahle-Work Zewde – President of Ethiopia, elected by parliament