PRAISES and hope rang from across Africa continent with the inauguration of Samia Suluhu Hassan as the first woman president of the Republic of Tanzania. This, many stress, is evidence that democracy is working in the country.
The smooth transition of power in Tanzania shows respect for the rule of law and ability to transcend religious and tribal divisions. Samia became the sixth president of the Republic of Tanzania following the death of President John Pombe Magufuli in mid- March of this year.
In interviews, Africans from Somalia, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Cameroon, South Africa, Zambia and Rwanda said Africans recognize the significance of including women in decisionmaking and high-level public offices. Politics are no longer just men’s affairs.
According to Victor Jatula, a Nigerian journalism professor at the University of Utah’s South Korea campus, women’s right to vote is evidence that there is a space for women in democracy. “Now women are seen and heard in the political arena,” he added.
Ms Irene Dawa, a doctoral student in philosophy at Durban University, South Africa claimed Africa is still patriarchal, so it is a challenge to have women in charge in male-dominated politics “ ego still there, but also the societies should understand there is a place for women in politics.”
Ms Dawa added, “African countries are ready to be led by women. If they were not believing in women in leadership, they would never have been appointed to those high power positions including the vice president.” Eric Chinje, Former Head of Communications and External Relations at the World Bank (Africa Region) and African Development Bank said, Mama Samia who is one of only two women sitting presidents among the fifty four leaders of Africa.
Therefore “She is a member of a rather unique and very small club but even within this restricted group, she largely stands out” Chinje added.
Mama Samia is taking over the country at a time when the region is going through challenges with COVID 19, economic volatility, security and terrorist threats and human rights violations in neighboring countries of Mozambique, Kenya, Somalia, Burundi, Rwanda, Sudan, Ethiopia, the DRC and Uganda.
The Former Head of Communications and External Relations at the World Bank (Africa Region) and African Development Bank hopes Mama Samia will also open up the country to foreign investments.
“Samia may just turn out to be the leader Africa has been waiting for.” he noted. Tanzania is among several African countries who have had women presidents.
These include Malawi, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Liberia, Mauritius, and Burundi. In their presidency they were successful in bringing peace and security, unifying their countries, and leading their countries away from conflict, civil wars and the abuse of human rights.