Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has congratulated Tanzania on the country’s first female president.

Ghebreyesus says he is looking forward to working with Samia Suluhu Hassan, who was sworn in as the sixth President of that country earlier on Friday.

Her predecessor, President John Magufuli, died suddenly on Wednesday.

He had been a COVID-19 sceptic and refused to adhere to COVID-19 regulations for most of 2020 saying the country can be saved through prayer.

He also refused to place his country under lockdown.

But in February, Magufuli made a turnaround and adhered to calls by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for his administration to take the pandemic more seriously. He called for the use of masks, sanitise, and encouraged social distancing.

Government has said he succumbed to a heart disease, but critics claim that his condition was exacerbated by COVID-19.

History made

Hassan has also become the first female president in the East African region.

Following her swearing-in, she called on her fellow countrymen to band together during what she has termed as a challenging time for her country.

Swearing in of Tanzania’s first female president: 


The 61-year-old joins at least 20 or so women who run countries around the world.

President Hassan began her political career in 2000 in her native Zanzibar as a member of parliament before being elected to the national assembly on mainland Tanzania and assigned a senior ministry.

She rose through the ranks of the ruling party until she was picked by Magufuli as his running mate in his first presidential election campaign in 2015.

She now begins her work as president, attempting to fill the shoes of President Magufuli who died just 132 days into his second term in office. Author- Isaac Lukando