DAR-ES-SALAM, TANZANIA: Tanzania’s Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan has on Friday been sworn in as the new president of Tanzania, becoming the first female head of state in the east African country following the death of president John Magufuli.
Hassan, 61, was sworn in at State House in the country’s commercial capital Dar es Salaam. She takes on the presidency replacing the slain John Magufuli who passed away on Wednesday, after a more than a two-week absence from public life that drew speculation about his health.
In a statement, the presidency said Hassan would address the nation after being sworn in and would also hold a cabinet meeting.
The absence of Magufuli, Africa’s most vehement COVID-19 sceptic, since Feb. 27 had fuelled speculation about his health and sparked rumours he had contracted the disease, although officials had denied he was ill. Hassan said he had died of heart disease.
Described as a soft-spoken consensus-builder, Hassan will also be the country’s first president born in Zanzibar, the archipelago that forms part of the union of the Republic of Tanzania.
Her leadership style is seen as a potential contrast from Magufuli, a brash populist who earned the nickname ‘Bulldozer’ for muscling through policies and who drew criticism for his intolerance of dissent, which his government denied. (Writing by Elias Biryabarema; editing by Omar Mohammed, Lincoln Feast Kim Coghill, William Maclean)