Chenge's remarks have shocked me, says Sitta By Rodgers Luhwago THE CITIZEN National Assembly Speaker Samuel Sitta yesterday said he was ''deeply shocked and disappointed by the strategic attacks'' directed at him by former Infrastructure Development minister Andrew Chenge. Speaking to The Citizen in an exclusive interview by telephone from Dodoma, Mr Sitta said he believed there was a ''hidden agenda driven by some people who feel that my leadership of Parliament is a threat to their political future''. He was reacting to allegations made by Mr Chenge in a weekly Swahili newspaper, in which the former minister was quoted as saying that Mr Sitta was ''leading Parliament imperfectly'' and peddling rumours. Mr Chenge, who resigned recently after reportedly being interrogated in Dar es Salaam by officials of the UK's Serious Fraud Office, was apparently upset that he had been associated with alleged voodoo rituals supposedly performed inside the debating chamber last week. The former minister was quoted in the media reports as having vowed to ''use the parliamentary procedures, the ruling party's top organs and the courts of law'' to fight what he termed as a smear campaign against him and accused the Speaker of being behind it. Speaking to The Citizen, Mr Sitta said the reports published by some newspapers in mid this week claiming to have emanated from him as a source were ''totally malicious''. He claimed that the intention was to tarnish his image before the public and members of the august House. ''What is surprising me is that I never mentioned any person despite being asked by reporters to do so. ''It's very unfortunate that those linking me with the naming of Mr Chenge as the person involved in the 'voodoo ritual' in the debating chamber are suggesting that I also believe in witchcraft, something I have never done throughout my life,'' he said. Asked what steps he would take against Mr Chenge, the Speaker said: ''I don't want to engage in cheap politics. I would rather not comment on that''. Mr Sitta clarified that all he said before the MPs after the ''peculiar event'' occurred was recorded in the Hansard, adding that whoever wanted to verify the information should go ahead and do so. He added: ''When the political wind is blowing against someone, he should never try to seek consolation by mudslinging others. Everyone should carry his or her cross.'' Early this week, the media reporters named Mr Chenge as the ''political heavyweight'' allegedly involved in the ritual allegedly performed at night in the Bunge Hall. Though they did not mention Mr Sitta as the source of the story, Mr Chenge was quoted in mid this week as saying that he would ''deal with him'' for allegedly linking him to the supposed witchcraft. Political observers noted that the ongoing tug of war between the ruling party's bigwigs started with sharp divisions that emerged soon after the Richmond scandal report was tabled in the Parliament. According to reliable sources, those who lost their positions after being implicated in corruption allegations believe that ''their political downfall'' was a well-coordinated move done by their rivals within CCM. A few weeks after the tabling of the report of the parliamentary committee on the Richmond scandal, Speaker Sitta claimed that some top politicians had targeted him. This followed allegations that he had misused millions of shillings in public funds. The conflict spread, with some of his family members, including his daughter, being targeted.