UDSM explains honorary doctorate award to Samia

President Samia Suluhu Hassan receives an honorary degree from the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) chancellor and former Tanzanian president, Jakaya Kikwete (left) during the university's 52nd graduation ceremony held at Mlimani city in Dar es Salaam yesterday. PHOTO|SUNDAY GEORGE

What you need to know:

  • The Chairperson of the Tanzania Commission for Universities, Prof Penina Mlama, said the award was conferred on President Hassan following efforts that she has made in various fields that have brought about positive development to the nation.

Dar es Salaam. Efforts by President Samia Suluhu Hassan to reform Tanzania’s education sector, the economy, democracy and gender are some of the factors behind a decision by the University of Dar es Salaam (USDM) senate to confer on her an honorary doctorate.

The President was one of the recipients of various degrees during the university’s 52nd graduation ceremony in Dar es Salaam yesterday. This year, over 11,000 graduates received their various degree awards and diplomas.

The UDSM’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor for academic affairs, Prof Bonaventure Lutinwa, said an award similar to that of President Hassan is given to a person who has been characterized by a display of the best learning in humanity and social science in general.

Even though honorary degrees are usually given to people who have made great contributions to society for a long time, President Hassan’s determination to change tides in the country through promises she made as soon as she took over the top office, convinced the UDSM’s Senate that she deserved the award.

According to the rules for awarding an honorary degree by UDSM, the recipient must have made a great contribution to education; made great contributions to solving any challenge or must have made a great and clear contribution to defending human rights.

The honorary doctorate has been awarded to President Hassan, one year and nine months since she came to power following the death in office of her predecessor, John Magufuli.

The Chairperson of the Tanzania Commission for Universities, Prof Penina Mlama, said the award was conferred on President Hassan following efforts that she has made in various fields that have brought about positive development to the nation.

According to Prof Mlama, immediately after coming to power, President Hassan categorically exuded just how her administration would bring about economic, social and cultural reforms in the country.

This brought new hope to the nation. The President has since been walking her talk. “She promised to take several steps to stimulate economic growth, including making changes to laws, policies and regulations as well as removing provisions that hinder the smooth flow of investments,” she noted.

“President Hassan is touted for working overnight to improve the business and investment environment to attract private sector capital and stimulate economic activities against a backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Prof Mlama said.

She said it was now an open secret that the country’s investment climate has significantly improved and investors were now flocking to Tanzania like never before.

“She also made operational reforms in tax collection and set up friendly systems, the biggest being the recent step to remove the tax collection taskforce. She has also put effort into building good international and regional commercial relations, thus expanding the market for local products…,” she said.

Indeed, it took her just months to raise average monthly revenue collection by a staggering Sh300 billion, thanks to her decision to turn the tax collection exercise into a friendly affair between the collector and the taxpayer.

“The sale of Tanzanian products in the East African market has increased by 30 percent, a level that has never been reached before,” she added, praising the President for her economic diplomacy agenda within the region.

In the agricultural sector, it was stated that President Hassan has made various efforts to raise the sector, including increasing the budget, finding markets for crops grown in the country, irrigated agriculture and improving the working environment of extension officers.

The President has also implemented a programme of subsidized fertilizers that led to a drop in prices of fertilizer by 50 percent thus reducing the burden on farmers.

In the tourism sector, President Hassan is said to have made various contributions in the development and promotion of the sector, through her decision to participate in the production of the Royal Tour film aimed at promoting and attracting more international tourists, thus contributing to the increase of travelers.

In addition, President Hassan has also been at the front line in taking various measures to bring about reforms in the education sector, including strengthening technical education by building new colleges.

She also has brought in various projects including the HEET projects that has the aim to transform the higher education sector, notwithstanding the great things she has done in the primary and secondary schools.

She has also been mentioned to promote democracy and good governance in the country, including her action to meet with various groups, including leaders of political parties, establishing a task force to collect the opinions of stakeholders about the democracy, among others.

Speaking immediately after being awarded the degree, President Hassan said, “I received the news about being awarded this degree with great humility. But I asked myself several questions because in the past I tried to seek this degree, but could not find the time.”