Who is Samia Suluhu Hassan? 

Hassan, previously Tanzania's Vice-President, was sworn in after the sudden death of President Magufuli on 17th March 2021. Whilst the circumstances were unexpected, Hassan has stepped into the role of President with confidence and certainty that she will ‘protect the constitution of Tanzania’

Born in January 1960 in Zanzibar - the semi-autonomous islands off the coast of mainland Tanzania, Hassan is a perfect example of a hard-working role model that has paved a diverse and non-traditional life, outside of normative caregiving responsibilities assigned to many women. Having studied Public Administration in Tanzania she went on to complete a Postgraduate at Manchester University in the UK, studying Community Economic Development. From here, she began her career in the Zanzibar House of Representatives where she then served as the Minister of Gender and Children in former Amani Karume’s Government. Her political career eventually led her to the role of Vice-President.  

Whilst the role of Vice-President is traditionally more ceremonial, Hassan participated and advised Magufuli in a number of important international meetings such as the Southern African Development Community summits. This may be an indicator of her strong leadership going forward. 

Why is this an important moment for Tanzania?

Her vast international experience and history working for women and children’s rights make Hassan a pivotal figure in the fight for gender equality. Already, whilst working in Zanzibar, Hassan overturned a ban on young mothers returning to school after giving birth. Not only did this uphold women's rights to education, but protected women from the inevitability of unpaid care work after pregnancy. With a political history like this, Hassan’s presidency looks promising for the future of gender equality in Tanzania.  

At present, Hassan has called for ‘21 days of mourning’ following the death of Magufuli. Looking forward, it will be interesting to see how Hassan uses her newfound fiscal capacity to strengthen Tanzania's development. Most imminent will be how she manages Tanzania's treatment of the Covid-19 pandemic. Considering her predecessor publicly denounced the existence of Covid-19 and deliberately prevented the World Health Organisation (WHO) from gathering Covid-19 data in Tanzania - this is a critical moment in the lives of millions of Tanzanians currently without hope for vaccinations. 

EdUKaid would like to wish Samia Suluhu Hassan success in her new role. Look out for updates in the coming months!