Tanzania’s parliament elected a new speaker on Tuesday following the resignation of her predecessor in a public feud with the president that rocked the ruling party. Tulia Ackson, who had been deputy speaker since 2015, beat eight other opposition candidates.
“I believe we have elected the right person who will lead the parliament in the right direction,” said senior MP William Lukuvi who supervised the election.
“She knows her boundaries as speaker and she knows there is a head of state who is Samia Suluhu Hassan.”
The 46-year-old Ackson takes over at a time when rifts have emerged in the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party as it prepares for new elections due in 2025. Hassan has accused rivals of trying to damage her leadership since she became Tanzania’s first woman president in March last year following the sudden death of strongman leader John Magufuli.
Ackson’s predecessor Job Ndugai resigned last month after criticising Hassan over what he called Tanzania’s “excessive” foreign borrowing and accusing the government of going about with a “begging bowl”.
The remarks triggered a debate over the East African country’s debt levels that stood at almost $28 billion in November, according to figures published by Tanzania’s central bank.
Hassan last month reshuffled her cabinet and sacked several senior members including the ministers for justice, housing, industry and investment. She has sought to break with some of Magufuli’s policies, but has been branded a “dictator” by the opposition, and fears remain about the state of political and media freedoms.