Dodoma. Nominated Member of Parliament, Dr Tulia Ackson, yesterday assumed the deputy Speaker’s seat amid accusations from opposition MPs of violation of the Constitution.
Dr Ackson defeated CUF candidate Magdalena Sakaya for the deputy Speaker’s seat by a wide margin. In the polls Ms Akson garnered a total of 250 votes (equivalent to 71.2 per cent) against Ms Sakaya who got 101 votes (equivalent to 28.2 per cent).
Speaking after being declared the winner by Dr Thomas Kashililah, the Clerk of the National Assembly, the new deputy Speaker promised to work hard and serve MPs and the nation at large.
“I will serve all of you equally regardless of your political party affiliation...this is a big position for me and I thank God for this opportunity. I promise to work hard and offer fair treatment to everybody in this House,” she said.
For her part, Ms Sakaya asked the new parliamentary leadership to maintain fairness, equality and solidarity among MPs.
She said all MPs must be treated as a team to avoid misunderstandings in the House.
“We are all here to serve the public...I would like to ask Mr Ndugai and Dr Ackson to make sure this Parliament serves wananchi through fulfilling its three duties as required,” she said.
However, CCM nomination of Dr Akson to run for the Speaker’s seat drew strong criticism from the opposition in Parliament.
Earlier, Ms Ester Matiko (Tarime Urban-Chadema) wanted Dr Tulia who was asking MPs to elect her Speaker to clarify how she managed to avoid conflict of interest in the ruling of the ‘200-metre’ electoral case knowing she was a member of CCM.
She also wanted to know why Dr Ackson decided to seek the Speaker’s nomination forms through CCM while still serving as deputy Attorney General.
Moreover, Mr David Silindde (Momba-Chadema) wanted clarification on when Dr Ackson became a member of CCM basing on the fact that as a government servant in a sensitive office, she was not supposed to allign with any party.
However, Dr Ackson responded that Section 67 and 72 of the Tanzanian Constitution, states that a government official surrenders power when they officially announce they will join politics.
On the possession of CCM membership card, Dr Ackson could not arrive at the conclusion of her answer after the opposition MPs shouted and interrupted her from time to time as she tried to point out public servants who are not allowed to become members of political parties.