Samia Suluhu Hassan is a ‘soft-spoken’ Muslim woman thrust from the obscure role of vice president to become Tanzania’s first female leader after John Magufuli’s sudden death. Under the constitution, Hassan, the country’s 61-year-old vice president, will serve the remainder of Magufuli’s second five-year term, which expires in 2025.
Hasan was a former office clerk and development worker. She began her political career in 2000 in her native Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous archipelago and was later elected to the national assembly on mainland Tanzania where she was assigned a senior ministry.
A ruling party stalwart, Hassan rose through the ranks until she was picked by Magufuli as his running mate in his first presidential election campaign back in 2015.
The Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) comfortably won, and Hassan made history when she was sworn-in as the country’s first-ever female vice president. The pair were reelected last October in a disputed poll, as opposition and independent observers decried irregularities in the electoral process.