Samia Suluhu Hassan made history on Friday as she was sworn in as the first female president of Tanzania.
The inauguration took place two days after the Tanzanian government announced the death of President John Magufuli. Suluhu Hassan was the vice president.
She was sworn in by Chief Justice Ibrahim Juma at the State House in the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam.
The 61-year-old statistician, who hails from the island of Zanzibar, joined politics in 2000 and quickly rose through the ranks, holding various ministerial posts.
Suluhu Hassan was elected vice chair of the Constitutional Assembly in 2014 and shortly after became Magufuli’s running mate for the 2015 general election.
According to the constitution, Suluhu Hassan should hold the country’s highest office until the next election in 2025.
Magufuli’s death sparked rumours that the statesman died of COVID-19 after he had been absent from public view without explanation since the end of February.
The 61-year-old had denied the existence of the novel coronavirus in the East African country.
He downplayed the virus’s threat, recommending prayers and steam baths, and urged the health ministry to be cautious with vaccines developed abroad.
The former German colony with a population of around 58 million has not published any new coronavirus infection figures since May 20.