Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan was officially sworn in as President of Tanzania. She thus becomes the country’s first female president. On Wednesday, 17th March 2021, it was announced that President John Magufuli has passed away.
Magufuli had not been seen in public since late February. Rumors circulated that he was infected with the coronavirus. Over the past year, Magufuli has made himself noticed several times with questionable statements about corona. For example, thanks to God, the virus would have been banned from Tanzania.
For months, the Tanzanian authorities have stopped communicating about corona infections and deaths, much to the dismay of the World Health Organization (WHO). Magufuli also recently stated that he did not believe in vaccines.
On Wednesday evening, Suluhu announced that the president has passed away. He officially died of heart failure. The constitution states that power now rests with the vice president until the next election in 2025. With Suluhu, the country will have a female president for the first time.
Suluhu was born in 1960 in the semi-autonomous archipelago of Zanzibar and took her first steps in politics at a young age. In 2000 she obtained a seat in the Parliament of Zanzibar and a seat in the national parliament ten years later. She was Magufuli’s running mate in the 2015 and 2020 elections.
Suluhu was a Zanzibar House of Representatives and a Minister. In 2014, she was appointed minister of state for union affairs and to Vice-chairperson of the constitutional assembly. In 2015, Magufuli took her as running mate. You can see why some called it new wine in an old pot.
Anyway, late Magufuli’s leadership style was dubbed “Bulldozer” because of his intolerant approach to policymaking, but the new president is a more diplomatic political figure, according to many MPs colleagues.
Guess what? Suluhu visited her opposition leader in 2017 at Nairobi hospital following the assassination attempt against her opposition.
She said, “Tanzanians are very eager to open a new chapter after very dark, controversial, and extremely divisive five and half years of Magufuli.”