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Tanzania Swears in first female President

NEWSMAN – Tanzania’s Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan on Friday was sworn in as the East African country’s first female president.

The 61-year-old leader was sworn in at 10am local time (07:00 GMT) on Friday.

Hassan before dignitaries at the ceremony in the capital, Dar es Salaam, promised to be honest, obey and protect the constitution of Tanzania.

In her first public address as president, she announced 21 days of mourning for the late President, John Magufuli and public holidays on March 22 and on March 25, the day the late president will be buried.

“It’s not a good day for me to talk to you because I have a wound in my heart. Today I have taken an oath different from the rest that I have taken in my career. Those were taken in happiness. Today I took the highest oath of office in mourning”, she said.

Hassan ascended to the presidency after President Magufuli’s death due to heart disease was announced on Wednesday, more than two weeks after he was last seen in public.

Magufuli’s absence since February 27 had fuelled speculation about his health and sparked rumours he had contracted COVID-19, although officials had denied he was ill.

According to Tanzania’s constitution, the vice president serves out the remainder of the term of a president who dies in office. Magufuli, who was first elected in 2015, secured a second five-year term in polls in October last year.

The constitution also states that after consultation with their party, the new president will propose a deputy, the choice to be confirmed by the votes of no fewer than 50 per cent of the National Assembly.

Magufuli was a vocal COVID-19 sceptic who urged Tanzanians to shun mask-wearing and denounced vaccines as a Western conspiracy, frustrating the World Health Organization (WHO).

Hassan’s swearing in will assuage opposition fear of constitutional vacuum.

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