After the unexpected death of John Magufuli from a disease that remains a mystery, Tanzania’s Samia Suluhu Hassan was sworn in as the country’s first female president on Friday.
Hassan, a 61-year-old Muslim woman from Zanzibar, will complete Magufuli’s second five-year term, which runs until 2025.
Hassan was sworn in as the country’s sixth president, wearing a bright red headscarf, at a ceremony in Dar es Salaam, where neither she nor the majority of attendees wore masks, in the Covid-sceptic community.
“I, Samia Suluhu Hassan, promise to be honest and obey and protect the constitution of Tanzania,” said the new president, as she took the oath.
She joins Ethiopia’s President Sahle-Work Zewde, who serves mostly in a ceremonial capacity, as the only other actual serving female head of state in Africa.
Hassan was little recognized outside Tanzania until she appeared on state television on Wednesday night to reveal that Magufuli, who had been absent for three weeks, had died of a heart attack at the age of 61.