Samia Suluhu Hassan

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Samia Suluhu Hassan
Samia Suluhu Hassan in May 2017.jpg
Suluhu in May 2017, as Vice-President
6th President of Tanzania
Assumed office
19 March 2021
Prime MinisterKassim Majaliwa
Vice PresidentPhilip Mpango
Preceded byJohn Magufuli
10th Vice-President of Tanzania
In office
5 November 2015 – 19 March 2021
PresidentJohn Magufuli
Preceded byMohamed Gharib Bilal
Succeeded byPhilip Mpango
Minister of State for Union Affairs in the Vice President's Office
In office
29 November 2010 – 5 November 2015
PresidentJakaya Kikwete
Preceded byMuhammed Seif Khatib
Succeeded byJanuary Makamba
Member of Parliament
for Makunduchi
In office
November 2010 – July 2015
Succeeded byAmeir Timbe
Minister of Tourism, Trade and Investment
In office
PresidentAmani Karume
Preceded byMussa Silima
Succeeded bySaid Ali Mbarouk
Personal details
Born (1960-01-27) 27 January 1960 (age 63)
Makunduchi, Sultanate of Zanzibar (now part of Tanzania)
Political partyChama Cha Mapinduzi
Hafidh Ameir
(m. 1978)
EducationMzumbe University (AdvDip)
University of Manchester (PGDip)
Open University of Tanzania (MSc)
Websiteofficial website

Samia Suluhu Hassan[a] (born 27 January 1960) is a Tanzanian politician who has been serving since 19 March 2021 as the sixth and first female president of Tanzania. She is a member of the ruling social-democrat Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party and the third female head of government of an East African Community (EAC) country. Upon the death in office of President John Magufuli, she was sworn in as president.

A native of Zanzibar,[2] Suluhu served as a minister in the semi-autonomous region during the administration of President Amani Karume. She served as the Member of Parliament for the Makunduchi constituency from 2010 to 2015 and was the Minister of State in the Vice-President's Office for Union Affairs from 2010 to 2015. In 2014, she was elected as the vice-chairperson of the Constituent Assembly tasked with the drafting of the country's new constitution.

Suluhu became Tanzania's first female vice-president following the 2015 general election, after being elected on the CCM ticket with President Magufuli. Suluhu and Magufuli were re-elected to a second term in 2020. She briefly served as the second female interim Head of State in the EAC – 27 years after Sylvie Kinigi of Burundi, spanning a period around the end of the year 1993.

As President, Suluhu's government enacted policies to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic in Tanzania – in contrast to denialism under Magufuli – and made efforts towards political reconciliation with opposition parties.

Early life[edit]

Suluhu was born on 27 January 1960 in Makunduchi, an old town on Unguja island, in the Sultanate of Zanzibar.[3]

She completed her secondary education in 1977 and began working. Subsequently, 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.[4]

Between 1992 and 1994, she attended the University of Manchester and earned a postgraduate diploma in economics.[5] 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.[4]

Political career[edit]

In 2000, she decided to run for public office. She was elected as a special seat member to the Zanzibar House of Representatives[6] 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 she was female.[5] She was re-elected in 2005 and was re-appointed as a minister in another portfolio.[7]

In 2010, she sought election to the National Assembly, standing in the parliamentary constituency of Makunduchi and winning by more than 80%.[7] President Jakaya Kikwete appointed her as the Minister of State for Union Affairs.[8] In 2014, she was elected as the Vice Chairperson of the Constituent Assembly tasked with drafting the country's new constitution.[9]

In July 2015, CCM's presidential nominee John Magufuli chose her as his running mate for the 2015 election,[10] making her the first female running mate in the party's history.[11] On 5 November 2015, she subsequently became the first female vice-president in the history of the country upon Magufuli's victory in the election.[12] Both Magufuli and Suluhu were re-elected for a second five-year term on 28 October 2020.[13]


Map highlighting countries where Hassan made official visits while president

On 17 March 2021, Mama Samia announced that Magufuli had died after a long illness; Magufuli had not been seen in public since late February. She was sworn in as his successor on 19 March 2021, and will serve the balance of Magufuli's second five-year term.[14] The delay in the start of her term came because the Constitution of Tanzania explicitly requires the vice-president to take the presidential oath before ascending to the presidency;[15] opposition leaders had expressed concern about a possible "vacuum" when 18 March passed without Suluhu being sworn in.[16] Upon her swearing-in, Suluhu became Tanzania's first female president.[17] She is also the second Zanzibari to hold the post,[18] and the third Muslim after Ali Hassan Mwinyi and Jakaya Kikwete.[19] She also became one of two serving female heads of state in Africa, alongside Ethiopia's Sahle-Work Zewde.[20] Under the Constitution, since she took office with more than three years remaining in Magufuli's term, if she completes this term she will only be eligible for one full term in her own right should she decide to stand at the next election.[15][clarification needed]

Suluhu (second from right) with Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh, Kaja Kallas of Estonia and Nicola Sturgeon of Scotland at COP26.

Suluhu's administration initiated efforts to curb the COVID-19 pandemic in Tanzania, in stark contrast to the skepticism of the virus under Magufuli's tenure. Mandatory 14-day quarantines for travellers entering Tanzania from countries housing newly risen variants of SARS-CoV-2 were imposed. Visitors were recommended to wear face masks, sanitize themselves, and practice social distancing.[21] Suluhu permitted embassies and other international organizations to import vaccines into the country to vaccinate foreign nationals for their Tanzanian day-to-day work, aided by the Ministry of Health.[22]

In 2022, she was named among the top 100 most influential people in the world by American magazine Time.[23]

Political reforms and unity[edit]

President Samia inherited a politically highly divided situation in which her predecessor, Magufuli, had centralized governance towards single party politics.[24] Upon phase 6, Suluhu's government, Mama Samia voiced desire to reverse the political direction of Tanzania.[25] Nonetheless, shortly after Suluhu became President the leader of the opposition party CHADEMA, Freeman Mbowe, was arrested under charges of treason.[26] All charges would later be dropped.[27] Upon day of his release Mbowe was summoned and met with Mama Samia at the State House in Dar es Salaam. The meeting was said to be greatly successful,[28] and has led to further meetings between the two as well as other opposition leaders to improve communication and repair the political division and create unity within the countries' political parties. On February 16, 2022, Mama Samia met with opposition leader Tundu Lissu in Belgium,[29] where he had been living in exile after he was shot 16 times in an attempted assassination in 2017.[30][31] Both spoke greatly of the conversation and for Lissu to return home to Tanzania to again participate in politics.[32]

President Samia's meetings and reconciliations between the parties has not been universally welcomed, and has received criticism particularly within her own party. Following the release of Freeman Mbowe, and his immediate conversation with Mama Samia, his first appearance days later was at the International Women's Day event in Iringa. This caused critics to accuse Mama Samia of releasing Mbowe on condition of support for Western feminist policies.[33]

In addition to meeting and repairing the divide between the politicians of the parties, Mama Samia has lifted restrictions of press put in place by her predecessor and reissued licenses to opposition publications. Most notably the reissue of licenses for the publications of Mwanahalisi, Mawio, Mseto, and Tanzania Daima which is owned by opposition leader Freeman Mbowe.[34][35][36]


Since taking over the presidential position in 2021, Samia has ensured that the flagship projects that were initiated by the late President Magufuli are completed on time.[37] Besides that, she has also approved new development projects.[38] In 2022, she attended the Expo 2020 to promote Tanzanian products and opportunities which led her to sign a business partnership deal with Dubai.[39][40]

Personal life[edit]

In 1978, Suluhu married Hafidh Ameirin, an agricultural officer who, by 2014, had retired. They have four children.[5] Her daughter Wanu Hafidh Ameir (born 1982), the couple's second child, is a special seat member of the Zanzibar House of Representatives.[41][42] On 28 July 2021, COVID-19 vaccination campaign started under her charge in Tanzania, with her receiving the first dose of the vaccine and urging all Tanzanians to get their vaccines saying that the country "is not an island".[43]

Honours and awards[edit]


Year Country Order
2023  South Africa Order of South Africa[44]


  • 2022: Africa Road Builders–Babacar Ndiaye Trophy[45]

Honorary academic awards[edit]

Year University Country Honour
2022 University of Dar es Salaam  Tanzania Doctor of Letters (D.Litt)[46]

Tanzania: The Royal Tour[edit]

In early 2021, she filmed a movie of "The Royal Tour" with journalist and filmmaker Peter Greenberg with the intention of promoting tourism and getting different investors to invest in her country.[47] It premiered in Los Angeles, Paramount Theatre,[48] followed by Tanzania.[49]


Year Title Role Notes
2022 The Royal Tour Tanzania Herself Documentary film[50]
2023 The Hidden Tanzania Herself Pre-production [51]


  1. ^ This surname is the double-barrelled Suluhu Hassan, but she is known as Mama Samia,[1] SSH, or by the surname Suluhu.


  1. ^ Quinn, Nolan (1 April 2022). Bunche, Ralph (ed.). "Interview: Tundu Lissu on Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan and the Role of the West in Democratization". Council on Foreign Relations.
  2. ^ Mules, Ineke (19 March 2021). "Samia Suluhu Hassan: Who Is Tanzania's New President?". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  3. ^ "Samia Suluhu Hassan—Tanzania's new president". BBC News. 19 March 2021. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  4. ^ a b "Member of Parliament CV". Parliament of Tanzania. Archived from the original on 13 July 2015. Retrieved 19 February 2013.
  5. ^ a b c Mwakyusa, Alvar (18 September 2014). "Samia Suluhu Hassan: A tough journey from activism to politics". Daily News. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  6. ^ Minde, Nicodemus. "Tanzania's Samia Hassan has the chance to heal a polarised nation". The Conversation. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  7. ^ a b Mwakyusa, Alvar (18 September 2014). "Tanzania: Samia Suluhu Hassan – a Tough Journey From Activism to Politics". AllAfrica. Archived from the original on 5 August 2019. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  8. ^ "Tanzania: History Made as Samia Picked Running Mate". AllAfrica. 13 July 2015. Archived from the original on 16 November 2016. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  9. ^ Mwakyusa, Alvar (14 March 2014). "Tanzania: Union 'Stalwart' Samia Is CA Vice-Chairperson". AllAfrica. Archived from the original on 14 March 2014. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  10. ^ CCM [@ccm_tanzania] (12 July 2015). "Mgombea mwenza Urais 2015 wa Mhe. John Pombe Magufuli ni.." (Tweet) (in Swahili). Retrieved 12 July 2015 – via Twitter.
  11. ^ Mohammed, Omar (12 July 2015). "Tanzania's ruling party nominates John Magufuli as presidential candidate". Quartz. Archived from the original on 11 August 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  12. ^ Kalinaki, K. Daniel (30 October 2015). "CCM's John Magufuli declared Tanzania fifth president". The East African. Archived from the original on 31 October 2015. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  13. ^ "Remembering not to forget: Tanzania's 2020 General Elections". Democracy in Africa. 28 October 2021. Retrieved 29 November 2021.
  14. ^ Shaban, Ebby; Feleke, Bethlehem (19 March 2021). "Tanzania swears in Samia Suluhu Hassan as first female president". CNN.
  15. ^ a b "Constitution of Tanzania". Where the office of President becomes vacant by reason of the death of the President, his resignation, loss of the electoral qualifications or inability to perform his functions due to physical infirmity, or failure to discharge the duties and functions of the office of President, then the Vice-President shall be sworn in and become the President for the unexpired period of the term of five years
  16. ^ "Tanzania swears in new president after sudden death of Magufuli". Al Jazeera. 19 March 2021. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  17. ^ "Tanzania's Samia Suluhu takes presidential oath". Business Daily. 19 March 2021.
  18. ^ Kiruga, Morris (18 March 2021). "Tanzania: The legacy of Magufuli and the beginning for Suluhu". The Africa Retrieved 19 March 2021.
  19. ^ Tongola, Mate (19 March 2021). "Muslim-Christianity ties that bind Suluhu's choice for deputy". The Standard. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
  20. ^ "Tanzania's Samia Suluhu Hassan sworn in as first female president". The Economic Times. AFP. 19 March 2021. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
  21. ^ "Tanzania, once sceptical of COVID-19, announces measures to curb new variants". Reuters. 3 May 2021. Retrieved 24 June 2021.
  22. ^ "Tanzania says embassies, international agencies can import COVID-19 vaccines". Reuters. 4 June 2021. Retrieved 24 June 2021.
  23. ^ "President Samia among 100 influential people in 2022". The Citizen. 24 May 2022.
  24. ^ Paget, Dan (2021). "Tanzania: The Authoritarian Landslide". Journal of Democracy. 32 (2): 61–76. doi:10.1353/jod.2021.0019. hdl:2164/16518. S2CID 234993696.
  25. ^ Biryabarema, Elias (19 March 2021). Mohammed, Omar (ed.). "Tanzania's first female leader urges unity after death of COVID sceptic Magufuli". Reuters.
  26. ^ Kombe, Charles (21 July 2021). "Tanzania's Main Opposition Leader Freeman Mbowe Arrested". VOA.
  27. ^ Kombe, Charles (4 March 2022). "Tanzania Drops Terrorism Case Against Main Opposition Leader Freeman Mbowe". VOA.
  28. ^ "Tanzania: Freeman Mbowe Praises President Samia After Release and Invitation". BBC. 9 March 2022.
  29. ^ Wambura, Bethsheba (16 February 2022). "Samia holds face-to-face talks with opposition leader Tundu Lissu in Brussels". The Citizen. Nation Media Group.
  30. ^ "Tanzania: Opposition MP Tundu Lissu wounded by gunmen". Retrieved 4 August 2020.
  31. ^ "Mwanasiasa wa upinzani Tundu Lissu apigwa risasi na watu wasiojulikana". BBC Swahili. 7 September 2017. Retrieved 16 September 2017.
  32. ^ Kombe, Charles (17 February 2022). "Applause in Tanzania After President Meets Exiled Opposition Leader in Belgium". VOA.
  33. ^ ULIMWENGU, JENERALI (12 March 2022). "Did Samia have Freeman set free to push gender agenda?". The East African. Nation Media Group.
  34. ^ Carolan, Kelsey (16 February 2022). "Tanzania's lifting of ban on four newspapers is step in right direction for press freedom". International Press Institute.
  35. ^ "Tanzanian president lifts ban on opposition political rallies". The Guardian Nigeria News - Nigeria and World News. 3 January 2023. Retrieved 19 February 2023.
  36. ^ "Thousands gather as Tanzania opposition holds first rally since ban lifted". France 24. 21 January 2023. Retrieved 19 February 2023.
  37. ^ "Tanzanian President Commits to Complete John Magufuli's Projects". All Africa. 18 March 2022. Retrieved 26 May 2022.
  38. ^ "Tanzania: President Samia - We're Still Implementing, Initiating New Projects". All Africa. 17 May 2022.
  39. ^ "Tanzania-UAE Relations: President Samia Suluhu's milestones". The Exchange. 4 March 2022.
  40. ^ "SAMIA: PROTECT INFRASTRUCTURES". Daily News. 31 May 2022.
  41. ^ "Hon. Wanu Hafidh Ameir". Archived from the original on 18 March 2021. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  42. ^ "Samia Suluhu Hassan – the woman set to become Tanzania's next president". BBC News. 18 March 2021. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  43. ^ "Covid in Tanzania: Vaccination campaign gets underway". BBC. 28 July 2021. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
  44. ^ @CyrilRamaphosa (16 March 2023). "Honoured to confer the Order of South Africa to Her Excellency President SuluhuSamia" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  45. ^ "Samia Suluhu Hassan: Tanzanian Prez in Accra for infrastructure award". Graphic Online. Retrieved 24 May 2022.
  46. ^ "University of Dar es Salaam honours Samia with Doctorate degree". The Citizen. 30 November 2022. Retrieved 30 November 2022.
  47. ^ "Seeing Tanzania with top tour guide President Samia Suluhu Hassan". Nz Herald. 22 May 2022.
  48. ^ "TANZANIA COMES TO HOLLYWOOD". Bluefield Daily Telegraph. 27 April 2022.
  49. ^ "Samia's call as 'Royal Tour' is unveiled in Dar es Salaam". The Citizen. 9 May 2022.
  50. ^ "Royal Tour documentary showcases Tanzania's tourism gems". The East African. 14 May 2022.
  51. ^ "After Royal Tour, Samia to unveil Hidden Tanzania". The Citizen. 11 August 2022.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Mussa Silima
Minister of Tourism, Trade and Investment
Succeeded by
Said Ali Mbarouk
Preceded by Minister of State for Union Affairs in the Vice President's Office
Succeeded by
Preceded by Vice-President of Tanzania
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of Tanzania
Party political offices
Preceded by CCM nominee for Vice-President of Tanzania
2015, 2020
Most recent