Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan bore the difficult task to announce the death of President John Magufuli. Now she is set to the president!
In 2000, Hassan joined politics. She was elected as a special seat member to the Zanzibar House of Representatives and was appointed a minister by President Amani Karume. She was the only high-ranking woman minister in the cabinet and was “looked down on” by her male colleagues because of her gender. She was re-elected in 2005 and was re-appointed as a minister in another portfolio.
In 2010, she sought election to the National Assembly, standing in the parliamentary constituency of Makunduchi and winning by more than 80%. President Jakaya Kikwete appointed her as the Minister of State for Union Affairs. In 2014, she was elected as the Vice Chairperson of the Constituent Assembly tasked with drafting the country’s new constitution.
In July 2015, in a surprising move, CCM’s presidential nominee John Magufuli chose her as his running mate for the 2015 election, making her the first female running mate in the party’s history. She subsequently became the first female vice-president in the history of the country upon Magufuli’s victory in the election.
One MP, January Makamba, who worked with her in the vice-president’s office, has called her “the most underrated politician in Tanzania”.
In 1986, she undertook an advanced diploma in public administration from the Institute of Development Management (present-day Mzumbe University) while working as a clerk at the Ministry of Planning and Development. Between 1992 and 1994, she attended the University of Manchester and graduated with a postgraduate diploma in economics. In 2015, she obtained her MSc in Community Economic Development via a joint-programme between the Open University of Tanzania and the Southern New Hampshire University.