Dar es Salaam. President Samia Suluhu Hassan keeps boosting the role of women in her government as she entrusts them with key ministerial roles that could ultimately define her legacy as the first woman Head of State in the history of the country.
Apart from Dr Stergomena Tax – who was yesterday sworn-in as the country’s first woman Minister for Defence and National Service – President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s cabinet also has seven women in ministerial positions.
Dr Tax was sworn-in along with Dr Ashatu Kijaji who becomes the Minister for Communications and Information Technology.
In today’s globalised world, the role of the ICT docket need not be overemphasized, analysts say.
“Dr Kijaji should feel proud with the appointment. But, she is indebted to meet expectations of Tanzanians especially the youth,” said the ICT expert, Ms Fidea Gosberth.
Apart from the two, Prof Joyce Ndalichako is entrusted to lead the Education docket, end illiteracy and produce experts to accomplish the country’s industrialization and economic transformation.
Dr Dorothy Gwajima heads the Health, Community Development, Gender, Children and the Elderly docket succeeding Ms Ummy Mwalimu.
Ms Mwalimu who is considered to be one of the most successful and accountable minister who served the fifth phase government is now heading the ministry of state in the President’s Office Regional Administration and Local Government (PO-RALG).
The diplomat and international relations guru, Ms Liberata Mulamula has been given the Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation docket charged with the consolidation of the economic diplomacy and strengthening the Tanzania’s foreign policy.
The minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office (Policy, Parliamentary Affairs, Labour, Employment, Youth and the Disabled) Jenista Mhagama represents the government in parliament ant, issues of labour and disaster management.
Dr Stergomena Tax
If you want to become the first person in a certain field of specialization, you could need to have a talk with Dr Stergomena Tax.
Dr Tax was on Sunday, September 12, named as the first woman to become Defence and National Service Minister. She was sworn in yesterday to replace the late Elias Kwandikwa.
A look at her history of services shows that she is used to becoming the first.
In 2013, she became the first woman to become Executive Secretary of Southern African Development Community (Sadc).
Her name sailed through a meeting of the heads of state and government for the 16-member bloc during a summit that was held in Lilongwe, Malawi.
Prior to her rising to her role as Sadc Executive Secretary, Dr Tax held the position of Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of East African Cooperation, also becoming the first woman to hold that position.
Before being transferred to the East African Cooperation docket, Dr Tax – who holds a PhD Degree in International Development from the University of Tsukuba in Japan – worked as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
Between 2006 and 2007, Dr Tax worked as Deputy Permanent Secretary in the then Ministry of Planning, Economy and Empowerment, a position she got after almost two years of working as Chief Executive Officer for the Better Regulation Unit which was under the Business Environment Strengthening.
Prof Joyce Ndalichako
President John Magufuli finally wooed Professor Joyce Ndalichako into politics when he nominated her as a Member of Parliament – and subsequently, as Education Minister in 2015.
After the 2020 General Election, Prof Ndalichako was elected as a Member of Parliament for Kasulu Urban Constituency in Kigoma and was duly reappointed into the same ministerial position under the late Magufuli.
President Hassan has also maintained her in the same docket.
Prof Ndalichako – who holds a PhD in Educational Psychology from University of Alberta in Canada – started her university schooling at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) three decades ago where she graduated with a B.Ed (Science) Degree before she later won a scholarship for postgraduate studies.
Apart from research and teaching work, Prof Ndalichako was also Executive Secretary for the National Examinations Council of Tanzania (Necta).
Dr Ashatu Kijaji
Dr Kijaji served as deputy minister of Finance and Planning between 2015 and 2020, her first term as lawmaker.
The PhD holder from the University of Agder of Norway missed in ex-President John Magufuli’s list of ministers after the October 28, General Election until September 12, 2021 when she was remembered by President Hassan.
Ms Ummy Mwalimu (48) displayed an outstanding leadership especially in the fight for the first and second waves of Covid-19 and that she ready to receive President Magufuli’s directives even at midnight.
The holder of the master’s degree in law was appointed minister of state in the Vice President’s Office responsible for Environment and Union Affairs by ex-President Magufuli before being moved to PO-RALG by President Hassan.
Dr Dorothy Gwajima
Dr Dorothy Gwajima is a professional doctor, a Bachelor’s degree holder from Nizhniy Novgorod Medical Academy in Russia.
She served at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare as assistant director of Public and Private Health, director of Curative Services before shifting to PORALG where she worked as deputy Permanent Secretary responsible for Health Affairs.
Former President Magufuli nominated her the MP before her appointment to ministerial roles.
She is the Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation who served as the docket’s Permanent Secretary in 2015. Ms Mulamula also served as the Tanzania Ambassador to the US and Mexico, as well as special advisor to President Jakaya Kikwete on diplomatic matters.
She held different positions inside and outside the country before being nominated lawmaker and later the minister.
Ms Jenista Mhagama is the minister of state in the Prime Miniter’s Office responsible in parliamentary, labour and disability since 2014.
She plays important roles in protecting government’s interests in Parliament and during disaster management.
A political lecturer at UDSM, Richard Mbunda, said Dr Tax is experienced in security issues following the situation she addressed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Cabo Delgado Province in Mozambique.
“She brings in her experience for the benefit of the country. But, she is supposed to focus at making huge army transformations,” he said.
A politician and former director of the Tanzania and Mozambique Centre for Foreign Relations (TMCFR), Prof Abadallah Safari said he was worried with experience of the new Defence Minister.
“She lacks experience in military issues which is an important aspect in developed countries in order to win respect and professional achievement,” he said.
Adding, “I commended the picking of former foreign minister Dr Augustine Mahiga as well as recently Ms Mulamula and the new Attorney General (AG) Judge Eliezer Feleshi who is used to judicial issues.”
But, Dr Conelius Simba of the University of Iringa (UoI) said gender had nothing to do with someone’s performance in ministerial roles.
“Ministries are institutions with professionals that are there to assist the minister. She is not going to work in a one man show style,” he said.
But, Prof Bernadeta Killian of UDSM said Tanzania has written another history after picking the new female Defence Minister.
Dr Victoria Lihiru of the Open University of Tanzania (OUT) said President Hassan has made a good move in addressing inequality and improving gender equality, “It now shows that no ministries can specifically be led by men.”
Dr Vicencia Shule of UDSM said impacts from appointees was what matters and not numbers.