Samia Suluhu Hassan was sworn in as Tanzania’s first female President on Friday, two days after President John Magufuli passed away due to heart failure.
Suluhu Hassan, who was the country’s Vice President, was sworn in by Chief Justice Ibrahim Juma at State House in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam, making her the first woman in Tanzania and East Africa to hold the highest office, reports dpa news agency.
The 61-year-old statistician, who hails from the island of Zanzibar, jointed politics in 2000 and quickly rose up the ranks, holding various ministerial posts.
Suluhu Hassan was elected Vice Chair of the Constitutional Assembly in 2014 and shortly thereafter became Magufuli’s running mate for the 2015 general election, which led her to become Vice President.
According to the Constitution, Suluhu Hassan should hold the country’s highest office until the next election in 2025.
Magufuli’s death was accompanied by persistent rumours that he died of Covid-19 after he had been absent from public view since February end.
The 61-year-old had long denied the existence of the coronavirus in the East African country.
He downplayed the virus’ threat, recommending prayers and steam baths, and urged the Health Ministry to be cautious with vaccines developed abroad, questioning their quick development.
The country, with a population of around 58 million, has not published any new coronavirus infection figures since May 2020.