March 19, 2021 will forever go down in the United Republic of Tanzania’s history as the day the nation inaugurated its first female president in Samia Suluhu Hassan.
Given the amount of time she has been in both governments - Union and Zanzibar’s - as a civil servant and politician, she qualifies to be classified as a seasoned politician.
Based on that - and, after taking oath of office yesterday at State House in Dar es Salaam - Ms Hassan, 61, will definitely be making impactful strides forward.
This is truly a historic moment in East Africa, whereby Mama Samia, as she is often fondly referred to, becomes the first female president in the region.
Her ascendancy to the highest office in the land is another testimony that the Union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar is forever going strong. She now becomes the second Zanzibari to serve as Union President after Mzee Ali Hassan Mwinyi.
And, coming on the heels of the untimely death on March 17 this year of immediate-past President John Magufuli – who died from cardiac complications – we trust she has gathered enough experience that has prepared her to face the huge tasks ahead of her.
Listening to her calling for national unity and solidarity in her brief speech yesterday, there is no doubt that the current and future state of our motherland, a nation of about 60 million souls, is in safe hands of the new Head of State and Commander-in-Chief.
There is hope for a bright future for all Tanzanians, as a sizeable percentage of them hold Her Excellency Madam President Samia in high esteem, and this soft-spoken lady has not disappointed them in the past - given the fact that she demonstrated herself as being a hard-working person.
We bank on her extensive experience and academic background as factors that would bring about a unique leadership style which would draw every Tanzanian to contribute to the nation’s wellbeing and prosperity through hard-work, innovation, inclusion and acceptance of our diversity.
Indeed, we do not know of any changes she intends to make as President. However, we do know that she is uniquely positioned to continue taking Tanzania forward on its socio-econo-political developmental agenda.
We understand that the world is keenly watching Tanzania’s new direction, hence, the Mama Samia presidency must be prepared, ready, willing and able to accept scrutiny and criticism – albeit possibly misconstrued and/or prejudiced, sometimes on account of her sensitive gender.
Samia sworn in as Union President
Dr Magufuli choosing Mama Samia as his running mate in the 2015 General Election made her a bridge between the Union and Zanzibar leaderships. In the event, she seamlessly served both sides of the United Republic in various aspects: religious, political, diplomatic – and even in gender-related aspects.
After taking oath of President of the United Republic of Tanzania yesterday, Mama Samia has fully assumed the responsibility of leading this nation.
According to the 1977 Tanzania Constitution as amended from time to time, Hon Samia Suluhu Hassan will now serve the remainder of Magufuli’s 5-year second tenure as Union President, ending with the 2025 General Election.
We unhesitatingly call upon all Tanzanians - irrespective of their political, religious or other statuses - development partners and well-wishers to give President Samia Suluhu Hassan all the support needed to enable her and her government to propel the country and its people to the National Development Vision for a semi-industrialised, upper-middle income country by Year-2025.