Samia Suluhu sworn in as Tanzania’s first ever woman president

Dar es Salam, Tanzania, Mar 19 (efe-epa).- The vice president of Tanzania, Samia Suluhu, was sworn in Friday as the country’s new president, making her the first woman in the history of the East African nation to be head of state.

Suluhu, 61, was sworn in at a ceremony at the State House in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s economic capital, following the sudden death this week of 61-year-old president John Magufuli, from a heart ailment.

Suluhu will hold the reins of the country until 2025, since Magufuli had just started a new term having been re-elected on October 28.

She is currently the second female African head of state, after Ethiopia’s Sahle-Work Zewde.

But unlike Sahle-Work, whose position is rather symbolic, Suluhu actually holds executive power in Tanzania.

The brand-new leader, the sixth person to hold the Tanzanian presidency, became vice president with Magufuli in the 2015 elections, which they won as candidates of the Revolution Party (CCM, by its Swahili acronym), which has been in power since the country’s independence in 1961.

Both were re-elected for a second term in 2020, although that tandem was cut short on Wednesday, when Suluhu announced Magufuli’s death in Dar es Salaam due to a heart condition and decreed two weeks of national mourning.

Since his last public appearance on February 27, rumors had spread about the health of the Covid-19 skeptic head of state. The opposition has claimed he sought medical assistance abroad after being infected with coronavirus, although this has not been officially confirmed.

Tanzania’s main opposition leader, Tundu Lissu, said Thursday that Magufuli died as a result of coronavirus and accused the government of lying.

Lissu, who survived an alleged assassination attempt in September 2017 and is in exile in Belgium, called Magufuli the “most violent and titanic leader in the history of Tanzania.”

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