Tanzania’s First Female Leader Sworn In With Authority in Doubt

Samia Suluhu Hassan was sworn in as Tanzania’s president two days after the death of incumbent John Magufuli, and now faces the arduous task of securing political control of the East African nation.

Hassan, 61, took the oath of office at a ceremony in the commercial hub of Dar es Salaam on Friday. She succeeded Magufuli under a constitutional provision that the president’s deputy will serve out their term if they die in office.

“I’m taking oath to the highest office in the land in a period of sorrow,” Hassan said in an inauguration speech in which she called for national unity. “I was not prepared for this nor did I ever expect us to lose our president.”

While widely regarded as an astute politician, Hassan lacks a powerful political constituency of her own and needs to secure the backing of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party if she is to remain president until the next election in 2025.

The nation’s sixth post-independence ruler, Hassan is the first woman to occupy the post. Magufuli selected her as his running mate in 2015, but later revealed that former defense minister Hussein Mwinyi was his preferred option, and that he’d heeded the CCM’s advice to chose a female deputy. He retained her in the post after securing a second term in October.


Adopted by Bloomberg