Meet Samia Suluhu Hassan Tanzania’s First Female President
Agathe Uwilingiyimanain was the first woman to ever be the head of an African country as she served as the Prime Minister of Rwanda. And Samia Suluhu Hassan is the second woman on the list.
The 61-year-old Samia Suluhu Hassan is Africa’s only current female political head of government – the Ethiopian presidency is a largely ceremonial role – joins a shortlist of women on the continent who have made it to the top.
First elected to a public office in 2000, Samia Suluhu Hassan came to national prominence in 2014 as the vice-chairperson of the Constituent Assembly, created to draft a new constitution. Her calm demeanour in stressful situations stood her apart.
With her hard work and sheer determination, Ms Samia went on to serve as vice president of Tanzania in 2015 under President John Magufuli. The pair won a second five-year term in last October’s election, but due to the sudden demise of Magufuli, Hassan was designated as the President of Tanzania.
One MP, January Makamba, who worked with Ms Samia in the vice-president’s office, has called her “the most underrated politician in Tanzania“.
“I have observed at close quarters her work ethic, decision-making and temperament. She is a very capable leader,” he said.
Despite being vice-president since 2015, and has served as a state minister in the previous government, little is known about Ms Samia’s private life.
She was born in January 1960 on Zanzibar – the semi-autonomous islands off the coast of mainland Tanzania. Later she went on to study public administration, first in Tanzania and then as a post-graduate at UK’s Manchester University.
In 1978, she married Hafidh Ameir, who is known to be an agricultural academic but has also kept a low profile. Since Ms Samia became vice-president, the two have not been pictured together.
They have four children with one, Mwanu Hafidh Ameir, who is currently a member of the Zanzibar House of Representatives.