How Anna Mkapa drew Samia into politics

Tuesday June 28 2022
Samia pix

President Samia Suluhu Hassan listens to briefings by business people on various products during the ongoing celebrations to mark 25 years of Equal Opportunities For All Trust in Dar es Salaam, second right is Mama Anna Mkapa.

By George Helahela
By Dickson Ng’hily

Dar es Salaam. President Samia Suluhu Hassan has revealed how she joined politics, saying the idea came from Anna Mkapa, then the country’s First Lady and Chairperson of the Equal Opportunities For All Trust Fund (EOTF).

President Hassan said this yesterday at an event that was meant to finalise a week-long celebration to mark 25 years of EOTF operations in the country, through which more than 6000 individuals have benefited from its programmes.

“I joined EOTF as its board member in 1997 when it had just started operating. I was there for about three to four years after which I got into politics. I remember we were planning to go to Mr Jordan Lugimbana’s village at Chamazi to visit a youth village,” President Samia recalled.

According to her, the vehicle that was to carry her and her colleagues had left without her only for Mama Mkapa to come to her rescue by inviting her for a ride.

“During our journey,” she said, “Samia, I’ve been observing your movements since you joined us. You’re indeed a very promising politician, the election is just around the corner. Why don’t you give it a try. I then responded saying that not only did I have anyone to show me the way, but also I knew nothing about politics.”

The President further narrated that the then First Lady insisted that she should go and try to inquire from people in her constituency as she was certain that she (Samia) would find someone who would show her the way because she was no ordinary woman.

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“I had to work on Mama’s advice. I found people who showed me the way. This was how I found myself in the House of Representatives, and was appointed a minister. Even in 2005, I was also appointed a minister and in my third time (in 2015) as MP, I was appointed as minister in the Vice President’s Office,” she recalled.

During the 2015 general election the ruling CCM endorsed her as the party’s running mate for the Union presidential candidate John Magufuli. She made history by becoming country’s ever first woman Vice-President.

But following the sudden death of President Magufuli, she again made history by becoming Tanzania’s ever first female Head of State.

Therefore, she thanked Mama Mkapa and EOTF in general for empowering her to become the country’s leader.

Earlier in her remarks, Mama Mkapa said her organisation came into existence to assist the government in the work of empowering and liberating women and young people living in poverty.

“Our aim is to assist them so that they can fully participate and utilise the available resources in relation to economic, educational and health development, we want to enable them to get out of social and economic vulnerability, hence boost income sources, create job opportunities,” she said.

On the other hand, EOTF has not only managed to train and create more than 65,000 jobs, but also the organisation has empowered individuals to set up businesses in manufacturing and with partnership from Tantrade, the said businesses have participated in various local and foreign exhibitions.

“In addition, since we started our operations 25 years ago, women under EOTF have managed to sell at least Sh11 trillion worth products, and they are currently having some local and foreign orders in hand worth Sh694 billion, this is a milestone achieving for the EOTF,” she observed.

On the other hand, Mama Mkapa said that her organisation has been able to offer scholarships to more than 1,755 children for their education from pre-school to university level and whereas her health programme has focused more on mother and child well-being especially on all communicable and non-communicable diseases,”