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10 Things To Know About Samia Suluhu Hassan, Tanzania’s First Female President

Samia Suluhu Hassan

Samia Suluhu Hassan is described as a soft-spoken consensus-builder | Image: Tony Karumba/AFP

Samia Suluhu Hassan on Friday was sworn in as the sixth President of Tanzania after the sudden death of John Magufuli, making her the country’s first female president.

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The soft-spoken 61-year-old will finish Magufuli’s second five-year term, set to run until 2025. She rose through the ranks over a 20-year political career from local government to the national assembly.

Here are some quick facts about Samia Suluhu Hassan:

  • Samia Suluhu Hassan was born on the 27th of January, 1960 in the Sultanate of Zanzibar.
  • In 1986, she graduated from the Institute of Development Management (present-day Mzumbe University) with an advanced diploma in public administration.
  • 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-programme between the Open University of Tanzania and the Southern New Hampshire University.
Samia Suluhu Hassan

Samia Suluhu Hassan, right, speaks during a tour of the Tanga region of Tanzania, March 16, 2021. | Image: AP

Hassan was an activist before she joined politics. “Having worked as an activist at grassroots level and witnessing on first-hand what people go through on a daily basis; I thought it was high time I joined politics and made changes in society,” she said in an interview quoted in Tanzania’s Daily News.

  • A former office clerk and development worker, Hassan was elected in 2000 as a special seat member to the Zanzibar House of Representatives and was appointed by President Amani Karume as the Minister for Employment, Youth, Women and Children Development.
  • She was appointed by President Karume again in the Tourism, Trade and Investment docket where she served between 2005 and 2010.
  • In 2010, she sought election to the National Assembly, standing in the parliamentary constituency of Makunduchi and winning by more than 80%.
  • President Jakaya Kikwete appointed her as the Minister of State for Union Affairs. In 2014, she was elected as the Vice-Chairperson of the Constituent Assembly tasked with drafting the country’s new constitution.
  • She became Tanzania’s first female vice-president following the 2015 general election, after being elected on the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party ticket with President Magufuli.
  • Samia Suluhu Hassan is married to Hafidh Ameir, who is a retired agricultural officer. They have four children. Her daughter Mwanu Hafidh Ameir is a special seat member of the Zanzibar House of Representatives.
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