Tanzania’s  Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan has been sworn in today at 10am local time (07:00 GMT) as the East African country’s first female president after the sudden death of president John Magufuli from an illness shrouded in mystery.

In her first public address as president, the 61-year-old announced 21 days of mourning for Magufuli and public holidays on March 22 and on March 25, the day the late president will be buried.

The new president said It is not the time to point fingers at each other but to hold hands and move forward to build the new Tanzania that President Magufuli aspired to. She further pointed out that she has taken the highest oath of office in mourning unlike other oaths taken in happiness in her career.

Hassan ascended to the presidency after the government on Wednesday, publicly announced President Magufuli’s death due to heart disease.

This is more than two weeks after he was last seen in public. Magufuli’s absence since February 27 had fuelled speculation about his health and sparked rumors he had contracted COVID-19, although officials had denied he was ill.

By Laura Mmosi

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