By Kizito Makoye
DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (AA) – Tanzania’s parliament speaker resigned on Thursday, suggesting a power struggle within the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party, which has ruled the East African country since its independence from Britain in 1961.
Job Yustino Ndugai stated in a brief statement that he resigned from his position and wrote a letter to the CCM secretary general.
“This is a personal decision. I have taken this decision considering wider interests of the nation, the government and my CCM party,” he said.
Ndugai thanked his fellow legislators, the president, the government, and his voters for their support.
Following his remarks regarding the rising national debt, there has been increasing pressure on the speaker to quit.
Ndugai’s resignation came just days after President Samia Suluhu Hassan, who also serves as the CCM chairperson, launched a public scathing attack on Ndugai for his remarks that "the country risks being auctioned" due to the country’s rising national debt.
Ndugai, on the other hand, reversed his unusual remarks and apologized publicly to the president, claiming that the incident was blown out of proportion.
"If I stated anything to discourage the president in her efforts to reconstruct the country, I apologize to her and to all Tanzanians," Ndugai said on Monday.
Sources within the CCM said the speaker’s bizarre remarks foreshadowed a wide schism inside the ruling party’s ranks ahead of the 2025 general elections.
There was no immediate response from the government, and attempts by Anadolu Agency to contact CCM’s publicity and ideology secretary, Shaka Shaka, for a statement failed since he did not answer his cellphone.
Hassan, Tanzania’s first woman president who took office in March after the sudden death of her predecessor, John Magufuli, is expected to run in the coming election.