Tanzania’s Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan was on Friday sworn in as the sixth president of the country following the sudden death of John Magufuli.
The 61-year-old, dressed in black suit and red headscarf, took the oath of office in Dar es Salaam before inspecting troops at a military parade and receiving a cannon salute.
“I, Samia Suluhu Hassan, promise to be honest and obey and protect the constitution of Tanzania,” she said before a room of dignitaries, who applauded when the brief ceremony was complete.
Under the constitution, Suluhu, will serve the remainder of Magufuli’s second five-year term, which does not expire until 2025.
The oath ceremony will be followed by a high level meeting of her party’s central committee on Saturday. Analysts say, during the meeting, new vice president will be picked.
A former office clerk and development worker, Suluhu began her political career in 2000 in her native Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous archipelago, before being elected to the national assembly on mainland Tanzania and assigned a senior ministry.
A ruling party stalwart, she rose through the ranks until being picked by Magufuli as his running mate in his first presidential election campaign in 2015.
The Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) comfortably won and Suluhu made history when sworn-in as the country’s first-ever female vice president.
The pair were re-elected last October in a disputed poll the opposition and independent observers said was marred by irregularities.
She would sometimes represent Magufuli on trips abroad but many outside Tanzania had not heard of Suluhu until she appeared on national television wearing a black headscarf to announce that Magufuli had died at 61 following a short illness.
In a slow and softly spoken address — a stark contrast to the thundering rhetoric favoured by her predecessor — Hassan solemnly declared 14 days of mourning.