Dr. Zakia Mohammed Abubakar has started her role as Vice Chancellor of the State University of Zanzibar (SUZA) following the office handing over ceremony held at the Main Campus, Tunguu on Friday 6th September, 2019.
She is the fourth Vice Chancellor in the University and the first woman in the role. Her appointment has been made by His Excellency Dr. Ali Mohamed Shein, the President of Zanzibar and Chairman of the Revolutionary Council who is also the Chancellor of the State University of Zanzibar as per the requirement of the State University of Zanzibar Act No. 8 of 1999, Article 9(1) following the termination of tenure of service of her predecessor.
Some images that depict the office handing over ceremony event
Dr. Zakia replaces Prof. Idris Ahmada Rai whose term in office ended on 5th September, 2019 after serving in two quadrennial terms from 6th September, 2011 to 5th September, 2015 and from 6th September, 2015 to 5th September, 2019 based on the State University of Zanzibar Act No. 8 of 1999, Article 9(3).
In his valediction statement Prof. Rai expressed his many appreciations to His Excellency Dr. Ali Mohamed Shein, the President of Zanzibar and Chairman of the Revolutionary Council for trusting him and give him the responsibility to serve as Vice Chancellor of SUZA for eight years despite being too young of only 39 years at the time of his first appointment.
He also expressed his gratitude to all members of SUZA community for collaboration they rendered to him, this motivated him to enjoy his duty and perform his to responsibilities with dedication, he explained. “Our teamwork managed to make SUZA becoming the most comprehensive university in Tanzania for its diversity in terms of having key programmes in various disciplines within a very short time,” he added.
Prof. Rai declared that the State University of Zanzibar is now known worldwide, this is evidenced by its number of memoranda of understanding which has engaged with other universities. He advised the incoming leadership to preserve this global cooperation with other higher learning institutions for the sake of promoting the university.

He also urged the University Council and the entire members of staff to give maximum cooperation to his successor in the same way they have been doing to him for the same intention of making SUZA reach its goal of becoming the preferred higher institution of learning and research in our region.
He finally called upon Dr. Zakia Abubakar, the incoming Vice Chancellor to be very firm in performing her undertakings and ensure that all duties and responsibilities are timely and effectively implemented, through this she will prove successful, he added.
On her side, the new Vice Chancellor expressed her personal thanks to all for the support and congratulations she has received from SUZA community and said that through this she believes to have every confidence that she can work together with everyone to ensure that SUZA adapts, thrives and retains its reputation.
She conveyed her special compliments to her predecessor for leadership experience she gained during the time they had been working together as his deputy vice chancellor on administrative affairs. She deeply values his support and cooperation while working together and that she will frequently continue seeking his leadership advice, Dr. Zakia informed.
Dr. Zakia informed that she will soon meet all members of staff where she will use the platform to express many concerning her intention to develop the university.
Earlier, the State University of Zanzibar Council Chairperson Hon. Said Bakari Jecha congratulated Prof. Rai for his commitment and dedication in implementing his duties all the time he worked with him, he said that if not for legal requirements, he would have wished him to continue holding the post.
Expressing their words of thanks, the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academics, Research and Consultancy, Dr. Ali Makame Ussi and that of Planning, Finance and Administration, Dr. Haroun Ayoub Maalim said they appreciate Prof. Rai’s efforts of making SUZA a large institution and they are ready to accommodate his thoughts aiming to drive this university towards the accepted standards.
Dr. Zakia Mohammed Abubakar – Linceate in Agricultural Education (ISPETP, Havana), M.Sc in Crop Protection (Reading University), Ph.D in Microbiology (Wye College, University of London) possesses extensive experience in academic and non-academic issues as a leader. Prior to her appointment as Vice Chancellor she previously held the positions of Dean of the then School of Education, Arts and Sciences (SEAS) as well as the SUZA Deputy Vice Chancellor for Administration, Finance and Planning from September, 2012 to September, 2018. She has published a number of publications.