Samia Suluhu: Everything you need to know about Tanzania’s incoming President

By , K24 Digital
On Thu, 18 Mar, 2021 12:42 | 2 mins read
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Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu. PHOTO/File

Sixty-one-year-old Samia Saluhu will become Tanzania’s first female President and East Africa’s first female Head of State upon being sworn in as late office-holder John Pombe Magufuli’s successor.

Samia will serve the remainder of Magufuli's second five-year team which he began in October 2020.

Suluhu will be the sixth President of Tanzania and the second from the country's semi-autonomous islands of Zanzibar.

After taking the oath of office, she will consult with her ruling CCM party to nominate a vice-president.

According to the Constitution, since she hails from Zanzibar, her deputy is required to come from the mainland.

Should Suluhu stay on as President for three years or more, the Law states that she will be allowed to run for the presidency only once.

Who exactly is Samia Suluhu; East Africa’s first female leader of an autonomous nation?

Suluhu was born in the Sultanate of Zanzibar. After completing her secondary education in 1977, she was employed by the Ministry of Planning and Development as a clerk.

She pursued a number of short-courses on a part-time basis.

In 1986, she graduated from the Institute of Development Management (present-day Mzumbe University) with an advanced diploma in public administration.

Upon graduation, she was employed on a project funded by the World Food Programme.

Between 1992 and 1994, she attended the University of Manchester and graduated with a postgraduate diploma in economics.

In 2015, she obtained her Master of Science Degree in Community Economic Development via a joint-programme between the Open University of Tanzania and the Southern New Hampshire University.


In 2000, she decided to join 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 per cent of the votes.

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, 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.


In 1978, she married Hafidh Ameir, at present a retired agricultural officer.

They have four children. Her daughter Wanu Hafidh Ameir (born 1982), the second child, is a special seat member of the Zanzibar House of Representatives.

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