History as IPU picks Tulia

TANZANIA: PRESIDENT Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan on Friday joined the world to applaud Speaker Dr Tulia Ackson for becoming the first African woman to assume the role of President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).

Dr Tulia’s victory makes her the 31st president of the IPU and the first woman from the African continent to hold the position.

Following news of the win, Dr Samia shared her excitement through her X handle (formerly Twitter), where she wrote “Heartfelt congratulations to the Speaker of our National Assembly, Hon Dr Tulia Ackson on being elected President of Inter-Parliamentary Union.

“Your election is a manifestation of the remarkable job you are doing and the trust delegates across the world have in you and our country. It is a testament to your many years of hard work and dedication to public service and an inspiration to the young girls in Tanzania, the African continent and beyond.”

Aside from President Samia, the IPU Parliament through their X handle also sent applause to the Speaker by writing “Congratulations to @TuliaAckson from #Tanzania’s🇹🇿 @bunge_tz on her election to the #IPU presidency at #IPU147 in #Angola.

Dr Tulia Ackson is the 31st president of the IPU and the first woman from #Africa to hold the position of @IPUPresident.”

India High Commissioner to Tanzania, Mr Binaya Pradhan also sent congratulations, saying “Heartiest congratulations to Hon Speaker H.E. Dr Tulia Ackson for being elected as President, Inter-ParliamentaryUnion (IPU) @bunge_tz.”

Immediately after being elected IPU President on a secret ballot, Dr Tulia pledged to work with all members of the Inter-Parliamentary Union to propel the organisation to greater heights.

With four candidates on the ballot, the new IPU President was elected with 57 per cent of the votes after a single round of voting, whereby hundreds of parliamentarians from 130 IPU Member Parliaments voted in the election.

“I am overwhelmed with gratitude and thank you for the confidence you have bestowed on me by electing me… I accept this position with all humility while recognising all the responsibilities that come with it,” said the new IPU President.

Dr Tulia added: “I reaffirm my commitment to work hand in hand with you all to make IPU the most effective, accountable and transparent organisation.”

She also pledged to cooperate with all candidates by working on their ideas on how the IPU should move forward.

“Thank you for the good fight that you have fought we will work together …I am sure you had good ideas of how IPU should move forward…  I will need those ideas so that we propel the IPU to greater heights,” Dr Tulia said.

She said that she will work together with all members to make sure that IPU is not only a better place but also a voice of everyone in the world.

Dr Ackson who is also Mbeya Urban MP is the first African woman to hold the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Presidency.

She takes over from Mr Duarte Pacheco, a parliamentarian from Portugal, who concluded his three-year mandate at the end of the 147th IPU Assembly in Luanda, Angola.

The Speaker of the National Assembly now becomes only the third woman to assume the IPU Presidency after Najma Heptulla from India (1999–2002) and Gabriela Cuevas from Mexico (2017–2020).

Dr Ackson beat three other candidates on the ballot – Adji Diarra Mergane Kanouté of Senegal, Catherine Gotani Hara of Malawi and Marwa Abdibashir Hagi of Somalia, all women MPs from Africa.

Dr Ackson became a parliamentarian in 2015.

She is currently the Speaker of the National Assembly of Tanzania, a position she acquired in 2022 after a stint as Deputy Speaker.

She also once served as the Deputy Attorney General in 2015.

The Mbeya urban lawmaker has bachelor and master’s degrees of Law from the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and a Doctorate from the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

She is an advocate of the High Court of Tanzania and a member of the Tanganyika Law Society (TLS).

She also taught at the Faculty of Law at the University of Dar es Salaam.

The President is the political head of the IPU, who chairs its statutory meetings and represents the Organisation at global events.

The principle of regional rotation is generally observed. Over the past 25 years, the IPU presidency has been held by prominent parliamentarians from Spain, India, Chile, Italy, Namibia, Morocco, Bangladesh, Mexico, Portugal and now the United Republic of Tanzania.

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