By Kester Kenn Klomegah

On March 19, Tanzania’s Samia Suluhu Hassan was sworn in as the sixth president of the East African country following the death of President John Magufuli.

The swearing-in ceremony took place at State House in Dar es Salaam, with Ms Suluhu making history as the first female president in Tanzania. She also became one of two serving female heads of state in Africa.

As the Tanzanian presidency is an executive one, Suluhu is the third female head of government of an East African Community.

She became the first female vice-president following the 2015 general election, after elected on the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party ticket with President John Magufuli. Suluhu and Magufuli were however re-elected to a second term in 2020.

Ms Suluhu, 61, took oath under the Chief Justice, Prof Ibrahim Juma, and will serve the remainder of the late President John Magufuli’s second term in office until 2025.

According to the Tanzanian constitution, she will be eligible to run for another five-year term.

Dressed in a red hijab and black suit – the ceremonial colours of the army – President Suluhu received a 21-gun salute with the military singing the Tanzanian and East African Community anthems.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres congratulated Samia Suluhu Hassan on her inauguration as the first female president of Tanzania, according to his chief spokesman.

“The Secretary-General extends warm congratulations to Her Excellency Samia Suluhu Hassan after her swearing-in today. The Secretary-General looks forward to working with the president, including to support Tanzania’s efforts towards sustainable development,” said Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman.

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris also congratulated President Samia Hassan, the first woman to hold that office, and said the United States was ready to strengthen ties between the two countries.

Harris, the first woman and first person of color to serve as U.S. Vice President, made the comment in a posting on Twitter that the United States stands ready to strengthen relations between two countries.

The U.S. Trade Representative’s office is leading U.S. efforts to forge a new trade and investment partnership with the East African Community, a regional organization that includes Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

With an estimated population of 46 million, Tanzania is a country located in East Africa within the African Great Lakes region.