Friday marked a new chapter of leadership for women in Tanzania.
The first female president, Samia Suluhu Hassan, was sworn in after the death of Tanzanian President John Magufuli.
Hassan is now the East African nation’s first female leader since her independence from Great Britain in late 1961.
Hassan, 61, was Magufuli’s vice president, first elected with him in 2015 and reelected last year. He will serve the remaining four years of the late Magufuli’s term, which ends in October 2025.
Born in Zanzibar, she began her political career in 2000 with her election to the Zanzibar House of Representatives. She was immediately appointed Minister of Commerce and Tourism by then-President Amani Karume, becoming the only woman in a high-level ministerial position in the Cabinet.
In 2010, Hassan won a seat in the Tanzanian national parliament. Her journey in national politics began in 2014, when she was selected by then-President Jakaya Kikwete as the country’s minister for union affairs.
Former Tanzanian President Magufuli died on Wednesday in a Dar es Salaam hospital, twenty days after his last public appearance. The late president was rumored to be suffering from COVID-19, which he long denied was present in Tanzania. However, Hassan said he died of heart failure.
While Hassan has taken his seat after the tragedy, the people of Tanzania are hopeful and proud of the new prospects of their first female leader.
We salute you, Queen Hassan, and all the women who have paved the way for our future.