By Prudence Minayo
Hon. Samia Saluhu Hassan is the current vice president of Tanzania and a member of Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party. She has made history by becoming the first female vice president of Tanzania following the 2015 general elections in Tanzania. This also makes her the 10th vice president of the United Republic of Tanzania.
Her journey to the top has been nothing short of methodical. Ever since joining politics in 2000, she has worked in various dockets and ministries. At one point, she was the only high ranking female to work in the cabinet.
With President John Pombe Magufuli ill, she is the current face of Tanzania representing the country at various international fonts. This may not be the first time she is doing this since the president of Tanzania rarely travels internationally.
Saluhu can be said to be an exceptional woman as she acts as the right hand to the president. She is a symbol that women can lead in high offices just like their male counterparts.
Age and Background
Saluhu was born on 27th January 1960. She was born in the sultanate of Zanzibar.
Upon completing her secondary education in 1977, she was employed as a clerk by the Ministry of Planning and Development.
In 1986, she graduated from the Institute of Development Management with an advanced diploma in public administration.
She then proceeded to the University of Manchester where she left with a postgraduate diploma in Economics.
In 2015, she got an MSc in Community Economic Development through a joint program between the open University of Tanzania and the Southern New Hampshire University.
After graduating with an advanced diploma in 1986, she was employed on a project funded by the World Food Programme.
Saluhu ventured into politics in 2000. President Amani Karume appointed her minister and she was also elected as special seat member to the Zanzibar House of Representatives. At the time, she was the only high ranking female in cabinet. This made her male colleagues despise her.
Nonetheless, she was elected once again in 2005 and was also appointed minister.
In 2010, she decided to join the National Assembly, hence vied for the parliamentary seat of Makunduchi constituency. She won having received more than 80% of the total votes casted. She was appointed Minister of State for Union Affairs by president Jakaya Kikwete.
In 2014, she was elected as the Vice Chairperson to the Constituent Assembly in charge of drafting the country’s new Constitution.
In July 2015, the presidential nominee of Chama Cha Mapinduzi chose her as his running mate for the 2015 general election. This was a historical moment as she became the first female running mate in the party’s history. When Magufuli won the election, she became the first female vice president in Tanzania.
The vice president of Tanzania got married to Hafidh Ameir in 1978. Hafidh is a retired Agricultural Officer. The two have four children with their second born, Wanu Hafidh Ameir (born in 1982), working as a special seat member of the Zanzibar House of Representatives.