Tanzania’s parliamentary speaker Job Ndugai resigned yesterday as Speaker of the National Assembly after coming under intense pressure to step down following his unprecedented public criticism of President Samia Suluhu Hassan and her government, over foreign debts.
The speaker said his resignation was a personal and voluntary decision taken in the interests of the nation.
But it came after he said Tanzania was at risk of being auctioned off following President Samia Suluhu’s announcement of a new loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Ndugai issued a public apology in a three-paragraph statement to President Samia, which she rejected.
She accused him of playing politics and trying to sabotage her ahead of general elections in 2025.
The Parliament is expected to elect his successor and the eighth speaker since independence when it convenes in Dodoma next month. It has also laid bare divisions within CCM as the party gears up for the 2025 General Election.
Ndugai’s exit is unprecedented in that it represents the first time in Tanzania’s history that a speaker has resigned from office in such circumstances. It was, however, widely expected after Ndugai became the first speaker to have publicly criticised the President.
Reacting to the development, Chadema vice-chairman Tundu Lissu said:
“Job Ndugai was the most despicable Speaker in the 96 years of our Parliament. His forced resignation, though, confirms that Tanzania has only one omnipotent & untouchable arm of the State: the President. A new democratic Constitution is an urgent & imperative order of the day!”
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