JK praises Samia’s leadership style

RETIRED President Jakaya Kikwete heaped praise on President Samia Suluhu Hassan, saying he was proud to see how she was calmly running the country.

The former president, who was briefing reporters on the sidelines of the Africa Drive for Democracy Elders’ Retreat, oozed confidence that Tanzania was heading in the right direction, thanks to Dr Samia’s kind of leadership.

“I’m very proud of her, this is something I cannot hide, I’m very much satisfied with her calmness and how she soberly approaches and resolves complex issues facing the country,” he said.

Calmness was the greatest virtue any leader ought to posses, according to Mr Kikwete, noting that Dr Samia personified such.

“The country could as well be thrown into disarray if we had leaders who always panicked and that was hard to find in Samia,” he detailed.

Mr Kikwete was quick to take members of the fourth estate who were all ears to his candid talk of how he first interacted with President Samia.

It was after the 2001 chaos that greeted the Zanzibar 2000 multiparty election that the two first met, according to Mr Kikwete.

He recalled that the then President, Benjamin Mkapa, alongside his Zanzibar counterpart Amani Abeid Karume formed a special team, to traverse the world, to clear the air on really what happened in the aftermath to the elections.

“I was the Foreign Affairs Minister and she headed the trade docket on the Isles, we toured a number of African countries and the world over to tell them what really transpired,” he recounted.

It was during the peace accords that Mr Kikwete got awestruck by the leadership traits that the little known Samia harboured then.

“She was normally a back seater, but when given a chance to speak, she couldn’t hesitate spilling the gems out of her… that’s how I got to learn of her”.

Impressed by her leadership traits, Mr Kikwete disclosed that he couldn’t hesitate to feature Dr Samia in his cabinet, as the Minister of State in the Vice-President’s Office in his second term, between 2010 and 2015.

He further divulged that he had a hand in convincing his predecessor, the late Dr John Magufuli to have her as her Vice, a duty she served until 2021, before assuming the country’s top most office.

“It really makes me proud to see the country sailing in the right direction under her administration, she’s neither scary nor emotional,” added the former president.

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