Read on to learn more about Tanzania’s first female president, Samia Suluhu Hassan in our Guest Blog by Rev. Dr. Benson Bagonza, Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT), Karagwe Diocese (KAD).
Tanzanian’s new President, Samia Suluhu Hassan became President by an act of the constitution. By virtue of being Vice President through a running mate system, one becomes a president in the event of President’s death. Tanzania’s past President Magufuli is said to have died on the 17th of March and so, on 19th of March, Samia took the oath of the office of the President of the republic. She is the first female president of Tanzania.
Samia is a woman from Zanzibar. She served in the cabinet of the semi-autonomous Zanzibar government and union cabinet. Under the past Tanzanian President Kikwete government, she was appointed vice speaker of the now defunct constitutional parliament. When John Magufuli became the presidential candidate of the ruling party – CCM, he proposed her for the running-mate position in order to win both Zanzibar votes and women votes. Under him, her talents were kept in the shadows and her vice presidency was surrounded with unending and unfounded rumors of her being limited to shine by her boss.
Samia is a studious, meticulous and diplomatic person. Her recent decisions indicate that she has a Zanzibari agenda to right the wrongs that have been done to the union over the last regimes. For obvious reasons, she has a gender agenda and makes it clear that it is her time as well as women’s time.
Economically she is liberalist and she is bent on making it easy for investors to invest in Tanzania.
One stronghold remains unresolved and no one knows yet if she is able to address it effectively: The country of Tanzania is suffering from weak institutions. Each one of them depends on the president to act or decide. This leads to the president’s exposure to micromanagement of the country, and micromanagement is the foundation of autocracy.
Samia has indicated that she is already for change. She needs support and courage to undo anachronic laws that were passed during the Magufuli regime. She badly also needs strong institutions that will challenge the presidency and rampant impunity in the country.
In her, optimism is high from many circles including the international community.
Rev. Dr. Benson Bagonza, Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT), Karagwe Diocese (KAD)
The views and opinions expressed in any ETI Guest Blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Educate Tanzania Inc (ETI).