Samia Suluhu Hassan was sworn in as Tanzania’s President on Friday, making history by becoming the East African country’s first female leader.
Across East Africa, all eyes were on televisions to see 61-year-old Suluhu take the oath following his predecessor’s sudden and controversial death, John Pombe Magufuli.
I, Samia Suluhu Hassan, have solemnly sworn this oath and have believed that I will remain loyal to Tanzania’s united republic with all my heart. And I preserve and defend the constitution of the Union of Tanzania by established law, so help me, God,” Suluhu stated as he took his presidential oath.
“I swear that I will assume my presidential duties for Tanzania faithfully and conscientiously fulfilling those responsibilities,” he added at the ceremony attended by military and government officials.
Magufuli funeral ceremony
In her first statement as Tanzanian President, Suluhu announced a 21-day duel for Magufuli. All Tanzanian flags will fly at half-mast during the term.
The oath I have taken as the President today is no less than a commitment I have taken with ease, enthusiasm, and happiness. I made this oath with pain, and throughout the country, there is a great sadness. I made this oath on a day of mourning. For this, I am sorry”, said the President.
On Wednesday, Magufuli died at the age of 61 of a heart condition. He died after two weeks of speculation when he was not sure of his illness.
Suluhu noted that the late President’s body would be transferred from Lugalo Military Hospital to St. Peter’s Church in the capital for prayers on Saturday and then to Uhuru Park, where Tanzanian leaders will bid farewell.
Magufuli’s body will be moved from city to city throughout the week for people to see and say goodbye. The late Tanzanian leader will be received in the Chato region on Thursday for the funeral.
Magufuli had declared that COVID-19 was defeated in his country, attributing it “to the help of God,” even when the World Health Organization requested the cooperation of the Government. But he recently acknowledged that the virus was still spreading when Zanzibar Vice President Seif Sharif Hamad died of COVID-19.
She is not new to public office.
Before taking office as President, Suluhu served as vice president for six years. The Muslim woman became the first vice president of Tanzania when she took office in 2015.
Politics also served as a member of the Zanzibar House of Representatives from 2000-2005. During that time, she was elected Minister of Labor by then-President Amani Karume.
Suluhu served as Zanzibar’s Minister of Tourism from 2005 to 2010. She was a Member of Parliament for the Makunduchi area in Tanzania from 2010 to 2015.