Mixed views greet President Samia's pledge to meet political parties

Friday April 23 2021
Samia 3 pic

President Samia Suluhu Hassan addresses Parliament in Dodoma yesterday. Right is National Assembly. PHOTOS | EDWIN MJWAHUZI

By Louis Kalumbia
By Josephine Christopher

Dar es Salaam. Mixed views by politicians yesterday greeted the pledges made in President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s maiden speech in Parliament, particularly her intention to meet leaders of political parties to deliberate on better ways of engaging in politics in the country.

President Hassan made the promise in Parliament in Dodoma a month after taking the oath of the top office to succeed President John Magufuli who died at a hospital in Dar es Salaam on March 17, 2021.

During the live-televised event, President Hassan said: “In order to protect the country’s democratic freedom, I expect to meet with leaders of political parties in Tanzania to collectively put direction of running politics that will be productive and upholding interests of our country.”

Speaking to The Citizen shortly after the speech, Chadema Secretary General John Mnyika said the President’s statement should be received with caution, while his ACT-Wazalendo counterpart Ado Shaibu said they welcome her promise wholeheartedly.

“The statement should be received cautiously because there are several issues that haven’t been highlighted in her speech including the New Constitution, restriction of political activities and many others,” Mr Mnyika said over the phone.

“She was supposed to announce the revival of the New Constitution writing process in order for Parliament to start the implementation process. There is huge vacuum there,” he added.

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According to him, lifting the ban on political activities could have been announced by the President, saying it wasn’t something that had to wait for a deliberation meeting because it was a constitutional issue.

But, Mr Shaibu said governing the country required national consensus and reconciliation, things that weren’t there in the last five years.

“We welcome her promise with a clean heart because this is going to mark a new chapter for the country’s politics,” he told The Citizen.

During her public address yesterday, the Head of State pledged Tanzanians and the international community that she will fully protect democracy, freedom and independence of the press in Tanzania.

“This is because freedom and democracy are the pillars of peace in any country and that they are key factors in stimulating social, economic and political development,” she said.

During her speech in Parliament, President Hassan pledged to closely work with the Judiciary to ensure rule of law was observed and respected in Tanzania.

According to her, she will improve the Judiciary’s infrastructure by increasing the number of judges and use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) in order to accelerate case processing and record keeping.

“My request to the Judiciary through the Chief Justice is that it should direct itself in dispensing justice to citizens,” she said.

President Hassan promised to continue strengthening other institutions including the offices of the Attorney General, the Solicitor General, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Police, the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) and Prisons.

During the event, she pledged to strengthen discipline and accountability in the public sector by reinforcing institutions and formulating systems of accountability that will ensure leaders and public servants are given respective targets.

“The present system that includes contracts between leaders and subordinate staff will be reviewed. Leaders and public servants will be assessed on the way they fulfil their responsibilities,” she said vowing not to get shying at negligent public servants.