Tanzania’s Vice president Samia Hassan Suluhu, who became the country’s first-ever female VP Following the 2015 General Elections that saw John Magufuli elected President, has recently been thrust much more in the public limelight, following the controversy surrounding the health of Magufuli.
As the Kenya Forum reported on Monday in the article under the headline; Is Magufuli Dead or Alive, the president allegedly “tested positive for Covid-19 last week and suffered a cardiac arrest on Wednesday 3, March, and has been unresponsive on a ventilator for the past eight days”.
Although the government of Tanzania is yet to issue any official statement regarding the speculations around the health of Magufuli, vocal opposition leaders like Tundu Antiphas Lissu have taken to social media to acknowledge that they are aware that the president is in critical condition and demanded that the government tells the people of Tanzania the truth.
According to sources, a transition of power to vice president Samia Hassan Suluhu, who has reportedly had her security strengthened, is imminent.
She is also said to have been transferred to Dar es Salaam, on March 6, from Zanzibar where she hails from.
If and when Magufuli recovers from the cardiac arrest, it’s still believed that he will require time off duty and will therefore not resume his presidential roles.
According to the constitution of Tanzania, Article 37 (3), in the event that the president is incapacitated from performing his duties, his roles and responsibilities will be taken over by either; the vice president or the Prime Minister in the event the VP is not available.
(3) Where the President is absent from the United Republic, or is unable to discharge the functions of his office for any other reason, the duties and functions of the President shall be discharged by one of the following, in the order specified, that is to say – (a) the Vice President or, if his office is vacant or if he is also absent or is ill; then 25 (b) the Prime Minister.
Section 5 of the same article further states that “Where the office of President becomes vacant by reason 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 4……”.
CHANGE OF GUARD?
Pressure continues to mount on the government of Tanzania to officially announce who exactly is in charge now that the president is evidently missing in action.
Earlier today, the Alliance for Change and Transparency, (ACT–Wazalendo), which is the third-largest political party in Tanzania has issued a statement demanding to know who exactly is in charge of the country, saying the conspicuous absence of President Magufuli and the allegations surrounding his ill health is causing anxiety among Tanzanians.
The Party further observed that unlike the routine every Sunday where Magufuli joins congregants in the Sunday worship and takes time to address the public, this was not the case on in the past Sunday (14th March).
“Hii Inaongeza taharukina kuongeze uzito wa uvumi unaoshika kasi kuhusu afya ya Rais,” the statement says. (This only fuels the anxiety and weight regarding the allegations that the president is ailing).
The party has also called on the General Secretary (Katibu Mkuu) to officially announce that the vice president has been undertaking presidential responsibilities in accordance with the constitution and will serve as president in any eventuality, and as such, she will be mandated to communicate to the public about the status of President Magufuli’s health.
If or when Tanzania’s Vice president Samia Hassan Suluhu officially takes over the functions of the president, she will make history once again by becoming East Africa’s first female president.