DAR ES SALAAM. – Tanzanian Vice-President Samia Suluhu Hassan is expected to take President John Magufuli’s place today. Under the constitution Hassan, the country’s 61-year-old vice president, will serve the remainder of Magufuli’s second five-year term, which does not expire until 2025.
With the expected takeover, she will become Africa’s only current female president – except the Ethiopian presidency, which is a largely ceremonial role – and join a small group of women on the continent who play an administrative role.
She is known as Mama Samia which reflects the respect for leaders in Tanzanian culture.
The running mate role of Hassan in 2015 was a surprise for many, considering that she leaped over several other prominent politicians in the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party, which has been in power multiple times since independence in 1961.
First elected to a public office in 2000, she came to national prominence in 2014 as the vice-chairperson of the Constituent Assembly, created to draft a new constitution.
In terms of personality, she strikes a contrast with Magufuli. Where he appeared impulsive, not afraid to speak off the cuff and let his feelings be known, she is more thoughtful and considerate.
One member of parliament, January Makamba, who worked with her in the vice-president’s office, has called her “the most underrated politician in Tanzania.”
“I have observed at close quarters her work ethic, decision-making and temperament. She is a very capable leader,” he said to the BBC.
One of the crucial issues that she needs to address is the method of dealing with the Covid-19 crisis. She has to decide whether to continue her predecessor’s skeptical approach to dealing with the coronavirus. – Daily Sabah.