- Samia Suluhu Hassan will take over the presidency and complete late Magufuli's second term which was to end in 2025
- Tanzania's constitution stipulates the vice president takes over in the event that the office of the president falls vacant under certain circumstances including death
- Hassan will thereafter propose the name of the person to be her vice president after which the parliament will approve the appointment
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The death of Tanzania's President John Pombe Magufuli draws attention to the broader issue of how African nations manage successions when their leaders die while still in service.
While statistics show 16 out of the 30 world leaders who have died in office since 2000 were Africans, several countries have handled succession better than others.
Some countries, which have witnessed the death of more than one sitting president, have had smooth transitions, like in the case of Ghana in July 2012 when President John Atta Mills died.
For others, it has been chaotic like Guinea- Bissau, which was muddled in the aftermath of President Malam Bacai Sanha's death in January 2012.
As Tanzania goes into a 14-day mourning period following the death of Magufuli announced by Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan, the world will be watching how the transition of power will pan out.
Handing over power
According to Tanzania's constitution, Hassan will be sworn in as the new president.
She will then serve the remainder of Magufuli's five-year term, which only began in October 2020 after he was re-elected for the second and last tenure.
"Where the office of president becomes vacant because of death, resignation, loss of electoral qualifications or inability to perform his functions due to physical infirmity, or failure to discharge the duties and functions of the Office of President, then the vice-president shall be sworn in and become the president for the unexpired period of the term of five years and in accordance with the conditions set out in Article 40," reads Tanzania's constitution.
The 61-year-old will be the first female president of Tanzania.
It is, however, not specified when exactly Samia will be sworn in.
If Sylvie Kiningi, Burundi's former prime minister's term of being acting president between October 27, 1993, and February 5, 1994, is put into consideration, then Suluhu will be East Africa's first substantive female president.
Once she assumes the presidency, the constitution dictates that, after consultation with the political party to which she belongs, she will propose the name of the person who will be the new vice president.
The appointment will then be confirmed by the National Assembly by votes of not less than 50% of all the Members of Parliament.
Suluhu's academic background
Born in the semi-autonomous archipelago of Zanzibar, Hassan studied economics in Britain.
She worked for the United Nation's World Food Programme (WFP) and then held various government posts before becoming Tanzania’s first female vice president in 2015.
Suluhu Hassan was born in the Sultanate of Zanzibar on January 27, 1960.
She attended Zanzibar schools and studied statistics at the Zanzibar Institute of Financial Administration before working as a clerk at the Ministry of Planning and Development.
In 1986, he began advanced studies in public administration at Mzumbe University before enrolling in a management course at the Institute of Management for Leaders in Hyderabad, India.
She completed a postgraduate diploma in economics at the University of Manchester and a master's degree in community economic development through a joint program between the two universities in 2005.
Working for government
She was first elected as a member of the Zanzibar House of Representatives for a special seat in 2000 and was appointed a minister by a former president, Amani Abeid Karume of Zanzibar.
Suluhu was elected to the National Assembly in a landslide win in 2010 as the MP representing Makunduchi Constituency, marking her entry into national electoral politics.
In 2014, President Jakaya Kikwete appointed her Minister of State for Union matters for the office of the Vice President.
Magufuli's death came after a fortnight of speculation over his whereabouts following his abrupt missing from the public.
The Tanzanian leader passed away on Wednesday, March 17, at 6 pm, according to an announcement made by Vice President Samia Suluhu on the state television, TBC.
According to Suluhu, the late president began feeling unwell and was taken to Jakaya Kikwete Heart Institute on Saturday, March 6.
The late leader was then discharged on Sunday, March 14, after assessment by cardiac specialists.
"He was allowed to go back home and continue with his responsibilities but the condition worsened on Sunday, March 14, when he was taken back to the hospital for treatment of a chronic heart disease," state Suluhu.
Suluhu declared that the nation will be observing 14 days of mourning with the national flag flying half-mast throughout the period.
Magufuli's death came five months after he won a second term in an election.
Onyirioha Nnamdi is a graduate of Literature and English Language at the University of Lagos. He is a Politics/Current Affairs Editor who writes on news and political topics for Legit.ng. He brings into his reporting a wealth of experience in creative and analytical writing. Nnamdi has a major interest in local and global politics.