Dar es Salaam – Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan reshuffled her cabinet Saturday as she battled to put a lid on infighting in the country’s ruling party.
The move came just days after the speaker of parliament quit following a public falling out with Hassan over controversial comments criticising the level of government borrowing.
Hassan, who became Tanzania’s first female president in March last year, had hinted at the reshuffle earlier this week, saying she wanting to expel people in the government she suspects of siding with rivals ahead of elections due in 2025.
In the changes announced by the president’s chief secretary Hussein Katanga, several senior cabinet members were sacked including the ministers for justice, housing, industry and investment.
Hassan last month accused rivals inside the government of trying to smear her leadership in a rare public showing of division within the ranks of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party.
Adding to the tensions, parliament speaker Job Ndugai resigned on Thursday after criticising Hassan over what he called Tanzania’s “excessive” foreign borrowing and accusing the government of going about with a “begging bowl”.
“I did not expect someone who leads a pillar of the state to utter such words,” Hassan retorted, insisting that the government would continue borrowing for development projects.
According to figures published by Tanzania’s central bank, total external and domestic debt amounted to $36 billion in November, compared with gross domestic product of $64.7 billion at the end of 2020.
Hassan became president of the East African country after the death of her predecessor John Magufuli, who was nicknamed the “Bulldozer” for his authoritarian leadership style and who oversaw a crackdown on dissent during his rule.
She has sought to break with some of Magufuli’s policies, but has been branded a “dictator” by the opposition and fears remain about the state of political and media freedoms.
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