Optimism as Samia marks two years in office

President Samia Suluhu Hassan marks two years today since she assumed office after the sudden death of incumbent John Magufuli in 2021. PHOTO | STATE HOUSE

What you need to know:

  • Politicians and analysts applaud Tanzania’s first female president for advancing democracy and expanding the country’s diplomatic ties

Dar es Salaam. President Samia Suluhu Hassan is marking two years today since assuming office on March 19, 2021.

She was sworn in as the next President of Tanzania, succeeding John Magufuli, who died of a heart illness on March 17, 2021.

The two-year voyage has already left an imprint on politics, the economy and diplomacy.

Politicians and analysts applaud Tanzania’s first female president for advancing democracy and expanding the country’s diplomatic ties.

The achievements are equally celebrated by Tanzanians from different walks of life, with a leader of the opposition, ACT-Wazalendo’s Mr Zitto Kabwe, referring to the two years as ones of freedom.

“We have seen actions taken to restore our democracy and initiatives for reforms, reconciliation, rebuilding and resilience,” he told The Citizen.

In January of this year, President Hassan lifted a ban on political rallies imposed by Magufuli since 2016. She has also accelerated the implementation of megaprojects, including the standard-gauge railway and the Julius Nyerere Hydropower Project.

“We have also seen a massive focus on agriculture to get people out of poverty and initiatives to address pension challenges for retirees by paying pensioners of the Public Service Social Security Fund (PSSSF) through a special bond,” he added.

However, the former Kigoma Urban Member of Parliament (MP) said that more needs to be done or should have been done.

He said the new laws for elections and political parties are important legislative pieces that had to be enacted to protect political freedom as well as establish an independent electoral commission.

“We have experienced total cooperation from the police and security forces in our political meetings, which I finish today. No quarrels or violence This was unthinkable two years ago,” he added.

Chadema’s director of Foreign Affairs, Protocol and Communications, John Mrema, said President Hassan has opened a new political chapter in her two years of office.

He said that, apart from lifting the ban on political activities, political cases facing opposition leaders were also dropped and that politics are no longer criminalised.

“However, she is challenged to address undecided issues, including those related to the 19 legislators named under our party (Chadema), and ensure the good things are protected by the laws,” he said.

“These things include the reinstatement of pregnant schoolgirls into formal education and reviving the new constitution writing process. Her administration is also supposed to address the challenge of high costs of living due to skyrocketing prices of food,” he added.

Prof Waitengere Kitojo, a diplomacy expert, said President Samia’s foreign visits have added more weight and value to the country’s diplomatic status.

“Freedom of speech restored by her leadership has significantly helped in developing the country’s domestic diplomacy, which is important in strengthening the country’s foreign diplomacy,” he said, noting that the Royal Tour Documentary has significantly helped in a quick recovery of the tourism sector.

For his part, the University of Dodoma (Udom) agro-economist, Dr Lutengano Mwinuka, said that despite the financial crunch, her administration has maintained implementation and development projects left by her predecessor.

“The opening of borders for foreign investors to invest in projects and enter into joint ventures has greatly encouraged and ensured prosperity in the private sector,” he said. Economically, her administration has developed a new industrial plan that seeks to create jobs and reduce poverty, and launch a digital economy transformation programme.

She has also established a new Ministry of Investment to attract foreign investment and spur economic growth.

She has also recorded other notable achievements in the implementation of water projects, improving the education and health sectors, and restoring press freedom and freedom of speech.