Some of the newly and controversially appointed Special Seats MPs from CUF yesterday expressed their support of the party’s embattled chairman, Prof Ibrahim Lipumba, as the Supreme Council aligned with party secretary-general Seif Sharif Hamad dismissed the appointment.
Speaking to this paper by phone one of the appointed MPs Ms Sonia Magogo said she was overwhelmed by feelings of joy and will work hard to represent the people in Parliament and won’t let party politics deter her aspirations.
“I will work tirelessly with Prof Lipumba to clear negative reputation that surrounds our party now…this is a golden opportunity to me. I have unsuccessfully vied for this post three times before, but I have been finally appointed. My promise to Handeni residents and my party leaders is none other than hard work,” she noted.
Ms Adelphina Kahigi from Bukoba Rural also expressed her support for Prof Lipumba, saying she was a legitimate leader according to the party’s constitution.
“I voted for him (Lipumba) in 2014. How can I betray him now? I will work under his guidance to consolidate the party,” she said, adding: “Indeed, this is the happiest moment of my life. I tried my luck with Special Seats slots since 1995 and now I have finally clinched the position.”
Ms Kiiza Mayeye from Kigoma also vouched her alliance with Prof Lipumba, saying the latter was not only the legitimate chairman of the party, but also an exemplary leader.
The party has been embroiled in a power struggle since August last year, pitting two opposing camps led by Prof Lipumba and Mr Hamad.
A Supreme Council aligned with Prof Lipumba last Sunday expelled from the party eight Special Seats MPs aligned with Mr Hamad. On Wednesday, National Assembly Speaker Job Ndugai upheld Prof Lipumba’s decision and declared the eight seats vacant, while on Thursday the National Electoral Commission (NEC) appointed new MPs to fill the positions.
One of the expelled MPs, Ms Severina Mwijage, had already filed a case at the High Court of Tanzania to challenge their expulsion from the party and ultimately from the Parliament.
The Mr Hamad led Supreme Council met yesterday in Zanzibar and reiterated their position that Prof Lipumba was no longer CUF member and that he had already resigned from the party since August 2015 and his resignation was approved by a party congress in August 21, 2016.
“He, therefore, has no mandate whatsoever to expel members from the party. We have said time and again that he (Prof Lipumba) is used to disintegrate CUF,” Mr Hamad told journalists after the meeting as he declared support for the case opened by Ms Mwijage.