DODOMA: “I AM overwhelmed.’’ These are the words enough to express the feelings of Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Tulia Ackson when she addressed Dodoma residents and fellow Members of Parliament, on Monday.
A rousing ‘Karibu’ was bestowed to the House Speaker, shortly after landing in the country from Luanda in Angola, where she was elected as the president of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). She becomes the first African woman to hold the post.
Dr Tulia was elected last Friday in an election that saw her beating three other competitors by garnering 57 per cent of the votes after a single round of voting, where hundreds of parliamentarians from 130 IPU Member Parliaments voted in the election.
She took over from Mr Duarte Pacheco, a parliamentarian from Portugal, who concluded his three-year mandate at the end of the 147th IPU Assembly in Angola, becoming only the third woman to assume the IPU Presidency after Najma Heptulla from India (1999–2002) and Gabriela Cuevas from Mexico (2017–2020).
Dr Tulia and her entourage jetted at the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) in Dar es Salaam yesterday before proceeding to Dodoma, where she was received by hundreds of residents who were eager to see her after clinching the crucial top position in the country’s history.
There was pomp, fanfare and uncontrolled cheers at the Dodoma Airport as thousands of residents in the Capital City turned up to welcome her.
Citizens from all walks of life arrived at the airport as early as 9:00a.m, after receiving news that the new IPU president was to arrive at noon. Carrying placards to congratulate her, some of the residents, donned in the green of ruling party CCM traditional attire were spotted chanting songs carrying a message to congratulate Dr Tulia.
There were also traditional dances organised by regional authorities that catalysed the colourful reception led by Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa and his deputy, Dr Dotto Biteko. Several Members of Parliament also thronged the Dodoma airport to welcome their boss, who is now leading one of the reputable decision-making organisations in the world.
Addressing residents at the airport after witnessing the crowd, Dr Tulia said: ‘I am overwhelmed.’’ The National Assembly Speaker and IPU president asked all Tanzanians to pay tribute to President Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan for blessing her candidature in the race.
“For one to vie for that position you need to receive a greenlight from the Head of State and President Samia did that to me,’’ she said adding that winning the IPU presidency was not easy but it was supported by the strong energy and political support from the Tanzanian government.
She hailed President Samia’s leadership for laying strong foundations of democracy, which she said to the great extent expedited her victory in Luanda.
Dr Tulia said her victory was the triumph for the country, saying further that Tanzania has set a record of winning straight away without going into the second round of voting, despite having faced strong competition from other challengers.
However, Dr Tulia could not hold her reservations for some Tanzanians who took to the social media to defame her and the country during the campaign.
She said it was unfortunate that there are Tanzanians, knowingly or unknowingly are being used to tarnish the name of their own country, something which she said must stop.
She also called on Tanzanians to desist from hatred and learn to support each other when it comes to matters of national interest.
Later, Dr Tulia was received at parliament grounds by fellow MPs where she reemphasised her excitement insisting that she was overwhelmed by the reception they had accorded her. The House Speaker said that it was high time Tanzania demonstrated to the world the ability to lead.
‘If we do the best, our nation will equally win respect from across the world,’’ she maintained.
Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa congratulated Dr Tulia for clinching victory insisting that she had brought respect to the nation.
“We have been delighted by your victory and on behalf of President Samia, I wish to congratulate you for the victory,’’ he said.
Members of Parliament who spoke on different occasions said that Dr Tulia’s victory was catalysed by the name the country has in the diplomatic sphere. “Three important things facilitated her victory, they are integrity, confidence and discipline,’’ said Deputy Speaker, Mussa Azzan Zungu.