In March, 2021 the 61-year-old Samia Suluhu Hassan was sworn in as Tanzania’s president after the death of her predecessor John Pombe Magufuli in office
Samia, who is currently the Africa’s Female political head of state in Tanzania, said that women can be better presidents and she is there to prove that.
Some “don’t believe that women can be better presidents and we are here to show them,” Samia Suluhu Hassan said.
“Even some of my government workers dismissed me at first as just another woman, but they soon accepted my leadership,” Ms Samia said.
“But this is not just in Africa, even in America, [Hillary] Clinton reached a place where we thought she was going to be the president but she couldn’t,” she added.
Ms Samia, who was promoted from the the vice-presidency, advised that focusing on implementing development plans and prioritizing people’s needs was the best way to deal with critics.
She added that despite challenges, other countries could learn from Liberia and Central African Republic who have had female leaders.
President Samia replaced John Magufuli who died from heart complications.
Magufuli was accused of cracking down on dissent and curtailing certain freedoms. His replacement was seen as someone who would bring a different tone to leadership.
But the recent arrest of main opposition leader Freeman Mbowe on terrorism-related charges, has led some to wonder if President Samia is continuing the policies of her predecessor.
Mr Mbowe was detained after he had said the last election was fraudulent.
President Samia said she would “leave to the courts to decide if he’s guilty or not guilty.
The Tanzanian leader also said she was ready to meet with opposition members and other stakeholders to discuss changes to the constitution “when the time is right” but she did not commit to when that would happen.
President Samia also defended her government on claims that she has continued to enforce laws that limit media freedom.
She said journalists “were free to work as long as they followed the country’s laws”.
She also said that she listens to criticism on social media by opposition members and activists adding that she has got used to it, but “it helps us know what people are thinking, if we ban it we won’t have that platform”.
Africa has so far hard ninet female head of states and these include Slyvie Kiningi, who was Acting President of Burundi (February – October 1993), Ivy Matsepe-Cassaburi, Acting President of South Africa (September 2005), Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia ( January 2006 – January 2018).
Rose Francine Rogombe, Interim President of Gabon (June 2009 – October 2009), Agnes Monique Ohsan Bellepeau, Acting President of Mauritius (March – July 2012 and May – June 2015), Joyce Hilda Banda, President of Malawi (April 2012 – May 2014).
Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, President of Mauritius (June 2015 – March 2018), Sahle-Work Zewde, President of Ethiopia (October 2018 Present) and Samia Suluhu Hassan the current president for Tanzania.
However, Dubbed “Africa’s Iron Lady”, Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf made history when she became the continent’s first elected woman president in 2005 in the history of Africa.