Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan
New Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan, inspects a military parade following her swearing in as the country's first female President after the sudden death of President John Magufuli at statehouse in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on March 19, 2021. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Tanzanian Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan, who hails from Oman, was sworn in Friday as the country’s first female president, two days after the death of President John Magufuli, one of Africa’s most prominent COVID-19 skeptics, local media reported.

Wearing a hijab and holding up a Quran with her right hand, the 61-year-old Hassan took the oath of office at State House, the government offices in Dar es Salaam, the country’s largest city.

In an address shortly after she was sworn in, Hassan said Magufuli’s body would be moved to several locations around the country over the next few days for private and public farewell events.

He will then be laid to rest in his hometown, Chato, on March 25, she said.

Hassan succeeds Magufuli, who had not been seen in public for more than two weeks before his passing was announced on state TV late Wednesday.

Magufuli had denied that COVID-19 was a problem in Tanzania, saying that national prayer had eradicated the disease from the country. But Magufuli acknowledged weeks before his death that the virus was a danger.