The new President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Samia Suluhu Hassan, has pledged to continue advancing the work and ideals of her predecessor, the late John Pombe Joseph Magufuli.
Dr Magufuli, whom many had come to refer to as The Bulldozer for his record in driving government programmes, leaves behind a legacy of his unwavering desire to rid Tanzania of corruption as well as his no-nonsense approach to the way the government operated.
Dr Magufuli died March 17 of a heart ailment, and as per the Tanzanian constitution, the Vice-President took over as President for the remainder of the five-year term, which ends in 2025.
After being sworn-in as the new President of Tanzania on March 19, President Hassan called for unity of purpose among all Tanzanians, saying that Dr Magufuli had prepared her for the task ahead and encouraged national unity.
“This is the time to stand together and get connected. It is time to bury our differences and show love to one another and look forward with confidence to build the new Tanzania that President Magufuli aspired to,” she said.
President Hassan, who took her oath of office witnessed by several cabinet ministers, former Presidents Ali Hassan Mwinyi and Jakaya Kikwete, and former President of Zanzibar Amani Abeid Karume, said nothing would go wrong as she was ready for the task at hand.
President Hassan repeated the same message on March 22 in her address to thousands of mourners, including several African Heads of State and Government, who attended a State Funeral ceremony held in Dodoma to pay their last respects to Dr Magufuli.
She assured the leaders that she would continue with the work of her predecessor in pushing forward the developmental agenda of Tanzania, the region and the wider African continent.
“The country is in safe hands”, she said, adding that “we will start where Magufuli ended”.
During her tenure as vice-president from 2015, she played a crucial role in strengthening deeper regional integration in Southern Africa and attended most SADC Heads of State and Government Summits on behalf of Dr Magufuli.
In this regard, her appreciation and knowledge on regional integration is sound. In fact, Tanzania has always been a strong advocate of deeper regional integration in Africa.
President Hassan, who becomes the first women to lead the United Republic of Tanzania, said women were as capable as their male counterparts to perform any duties.
“To those who have doubts if a lady will manage to govern Tanzania I want to assure you that the one standing here is a president,” she said.
President Hassan becomes the sixth President of Tanzania since the country gained its Independence in 1961.
Prior to this, President Hassan held various senior positions including being elected as a special seat member of the Zanzibar House of Representatives in 2000. She was appointed Minister of State for Union Affairs in 2014, and elected vice-chairperson of the Constitutional Assembly tasked with drafting Tanzania’s new constitution.
In 2015, Dr Magufuli selected her as his running mate ahead of several other prominent and senior members of the ruling party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM).
President Hassan was born on January 27, 1960 in Zanzibar and holds qualifications in Public Administration and Development Economics.
The ruling CCM’s Central Committee will convene a meeting on the appointment of a new vice-president.
The established norm under the Union Government is that when the President comes from the mainland then the VP comes from Zanzibar. Since President Hassan is from Zanzibar, the next VP is expected to be from the mainland. – sardc.net
The John Magufuli Legacy
Harare – On March 25, SADC and Africa bade farewell to President John Magufuli of Tanzania.
The late Tanzanian leader’s dream was to advance meaningful integration in SADC, premised on sustainable industrial development, greater trade and job creation, among other pillars.
Dr Magufuli was elected President of Tanzania in 2015, and served as SADC Chairperson from August 2018 to August 2020.
The Southern Times this week provides just four of the many highlights of Dr Magufuli’s contributions to regional peace and development, and international justice.
Language & Education
Dr Magufuli was a teacher at heart, and even when he became Head of State and Government, and that is something his successor President Samia Suluhu Hassan has pointed out over the past week as she spoke about how her boss had prepared her for the top job.
More noticeable was Dr Magufuli’s drive to get SADC to adopt Kiswahili as an official language of the bloc.
‘‘I am appealing to Your Excellencies to fast track the adoption of Kiswahili to be among the four official languages in SADC,” Dr Magufuli said at the opening of the 39th SADC Heads of State and Government Summit in Tanzania in 2019.
The bloc has since adopted Kiswahili, and countries like Botswana are integrating it into the school curriculum. Before his death, Dr Magufuli offered to send experts to Botswana to help the country with its efforts to mainstream the language; and offer also extended to Namibia and Zimbabwe.
Several African leaders often spoke about how Dr Magufuli was always teaching them Kiswahili whenever they met.
In the midst of the El Nino-induced drought that hit several SADC countries about three years ago, Dr Magufuli stepped to the fore.
Tanzania was not hit by the drought and the country had a cereal surplus. The Tanzanian leader quickly stepped up and offered food to the SADC community, with countries like Zimbabwe getting 20,000 tonnes of maize.
In addition, when cyclones ravaged the region, Dr Magufuli was the first leader in the world to offer assistance to SADC countries.
President Magufuli was well aware of the dangers to the region posed by the growing terrorism in northern Mozambique.
The rebels, from time to time, made forays into neighbouring Tanzania, and Dr Magufuli was steadfast throughout his tenure that the region had to act together to stop the terrorism in Mozambique.
Early this year, among other initiatives, Dr Magufuli invited President Felipe Nyusi of Mozambique to another round of discussions to map a way forward and end the crisis.
Dr Magufuli was a strident critic of the illegal economic sanctions imposed by some Western countries on Zimbabwe, and he was at the forefront of calling for their unconditional removal.
It is during his tenure as SADC Chairperson that the bloc declared October 25 as the Anti-Sanctions Day, and the bloc has used that day to galvanise action and invigorate the lobby to end the economic embargo.