Tanzania and East Africa at large is set to get its first female president following the death of John Pombe Magufuli on Wednesday night. Magufuli is said to have succumbed to heart complications.
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.”
Born on January 27, 1960 in the Sultanate of Zanzibar, Suluhu completed her secondary education in 1977 and was employed by the Ministry of Planning and Development as a clerk.
In 2000, she decided to join politics. 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 and was “looked down on” by her male colleagues because of her gender. She was re-elected in 2005 and was re-appointed as a minister in another portfolio.
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.
In July 2015, CCM’s presidential nominee John 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 the history of the country upon Magufuli’s victory in the election.
Suluhu is married to Hafidh Ameir, a retired agriculture officer, and together they have three sons and a daughter.