DODOMA, Sep 14 (Xinhua) - Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan has appointed Stergomena Lawrence Tax as the east African nation's new minister for defense and national service.

Stergomena Lawrence Tax replaces Elias Kwandikwa, who died early August, the Directorate of Presidential Communications at State House said in a statement issued late Sunday.

Tax, who becomes the country's first woman defense minister since independence, also served as the first and only executive secretary of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), an inter-governmental organization established in 1992 to promote political, socio-economic and security cooperation and integration among its 16 members.

Her tenure of office as SADC executive secretary ended on Aug. 31.