List of heads of state of Tanzania

This is a list of the heads of state of Tanzania, from the independence of Tanganyika in 1961 to the present day.

From 1961 to 1962 the head of state under the Constitution of 1961 was the queen of Tanganyika, Elizabeth II, who was also the queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms. The monarch was represented in Tanganyika by a governor-general. Tanganyika became a republic within the Commonwealth under the Constitution of 1962 and the monarch and governor-general were replaced by an executive president. After the Zanzibar Revolution, which overthrew the Sultanate of Zanzibar in January 1964, the People's Republic of Zanzibar and Pemba united with mainland Tanganyika to form the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, which was later renamed to the United Republic of Tanzania.

Monarch (1961–1962)

The succession to the throne was the same as the succession to the British throne.

No. Portrait Name
Reign Royal House Prime minister(s)
Took office Left office Time in office
1 Queen Elizabeth II
9 December 1961 9 December 1962 1 year Windsor Nyerere


The governor-general was the representative of the monarch in Tanganyika and exercised most of the powers of the monarch. The governor-general was appointed for an indefinite term, serving at the pleasure of the monarch. Since Tanganyika was granted independence by the Tanganyika Independence Act 1961, rather than being first established as a semi-autonomous dominion and later promoted to independence as defined by the Statute of Westminster 1931, the governor-general was to be always appointed solely on the advice of the Cabinet of Tanganyika without the involvement of the British government. As Tanganyika became a republic before Richard Turnbull, the former colonial governor, was replaced, this has never happened. In the event of a vacancy the chief justice would have served as the officer administering the government.

  Denotes Chief Justice acting as Officer Administering the Government
No. Portrait Name
Term of office Monarch Prime minister(s)
Took office Left office Time in office
1 Sir Richard Turnbull
9 December 1961 9 December 1962 1 year Elizabeth II Nyerere

President of Tanganyika

Under the Constitution of 1962, the first constitution of the Republic of Tanganyika, the president replaced the monarch as executive head of state. In the event of a vacancy the Vice-President of Tanganyika served as acting president.

  Denotes Vice-President acting as President
No. Portrait Name
Elected Term of office Political party
Took office Left office Time in office
1 Julius Nyerere
1962 9 December 1962 29 October 1964 1 year, 325 days Tanganyika African National Union

President of Tanzania

Under the Constitution of 1964, the first constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, the president replaced the president of Tanganyika and the president of Zanzibar as executive head of state. The president was elected by a yes-or-no confirmation referendum for a five-year term after being nominated by a TANU/CCM electoral college. Following the restoration of a multi-party system in 1992, multi-candidate elections were introduced in 1995, with the president elected via First-past-the-post voting.[1] In the event of a vacancy the vice-president serves as president for the remainder of the presidential term.

Former President John Magufuli took a monthly salary of 9 million Tanzanian shillings (approximately USD $4,000).[2]

  Denotes Vice-President acting as President
No. Portrait Name
Elected Term of office Political party Prime minister(s)
Took office Left office Time in office
1 Julius Nyerere
1 November 1964 5 November 1985
(declined re-election.)
21 years, 4 days Tanganyika African National Union Kawawa
1980 Chama Cha Mapinduzi[lower-alpha 1] Kawawa
2 Ali Hassan Mwinyi
(born 1925)
5 November 1985 23 November 1995 10 years, 18 days Chama Cha Mapinduzi Warioba
3 Benjamin Mkapa
23 November 1995 21 December 2005 10 years, 28 days Chama Cha Mapinduzi Msuya
4 Jakaya Kikwete
(born 1950)
21 December 2005 5 November 2015 9 years, 319 days Chama Cha Mapinduzi Sumaye
5 John Magufuli
5 November 2015 17 March 2021
(died in office.)
5 years, 132 days Chama Cha Mapinduzi Majaliwa
6 Samia Suluhu Hassan
(born 1960)
19 March 2021[3] Incumbent 1 year, 318 days Chama Cha Mapinduzi


  1. Founded on 5 February 1977.


Samia SuluhuJohn MagufuliJakaya KikweteBenjamin MkapaAli Hassan MwinyiJulius Nyerere



  1. Tanzania: Electoral system
  2. Mohamed, Hamza (4 October 2017). "Tanzanian president earns $4,008 a month". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  3. Reuters (19 March 2021). "Tanzania swears in Samia Suluhu Hassan as first female president". the Guardian. Retrieved 19 March 2021. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)
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