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Samia Suluhu Hassan is Reforming Tanzania

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  • 2 min read

A series of political manoeuvres by Tanzania President Samia Suluhu Hassan have set the east African country on an unfamiliar, yet hopeful, political path. Since her elevation to the presidency two years ago following the death of John Pombe Magufuli, the new president has struck a reformist political tone and led reconciliation with a previously marginalised opposition. None of this would have been possible under Magufuli.

Magufuli not only stifled the opposition, but also went as far as threatening to annihilate it. Hassan has made several reforms, including reconciliation talks between the government and the opposition. Her government also lifted the ban on newspapers.

Hassan has made a significant break from her predecessor. There was little civic and political space under the late president. There was violent crackdown on the opposition and the media.

Hassan has placed strong emphasis on reconciliation, resilience, reform and rebuilding. She has reversed most of her predecessor’s retrogressive policies. For example, she has ended the ban on pregnant schoolgirls in classrooms. She has also opened up the country to foreign investments.

Her most recent initiative was to lift the ban on political rallies and activities. Magufuli banned opposition political rallies and activities in 2016. The unconstitutional move came at a time when the main opposition party – Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema) – was planning nationwide rallies to protest Magufuli’s repressive and authoritarian rule.