THE embattled Minister of State in the President's Office responsible for Good Governance, Ms Sophia Simba, has dismissed growing calls for her resignation or outright dismissal from government service. "Resign? Why should I resign?" retorted the minister yesterday when asked in a telephone interview with THISDAY whether she was thinking of quitting or not. The bipartisan chorus of calls for Ms Simba (pictured) to step down from her current position in government follows controversial remarks attributed to her at a recent parliamentary caucus meeting of Chama Cha Mapinduzi legislators in Dodoma. Widespread reports of her staunch and vehement defence of prominent ruling party MPs facing various allegations of grand corruption and abuse of public office have drawn derisive whistles from both within CCM and the political opposition. The minister responsible for good governance affairs in the country is reported to have sought to clear ex-prime minister Edward Lowassa once and for all over his involvement in the Richmond power generation scandal, and ex-attorney general Andrew Chenge over the military radar corruption investigation. But speaking to THISDAY over the phone yesterday, Ms Simba laughed off the calls for her to quit, asserting that she has no reason to do so. "Why should I resign and who wants me to resign?" she queried, in her first media interview on the matter which has drawn local newspaper headlines for over a week now. According to her, only members of the ruling CCM have the authority to ask her to step down. "...And again, if I am to resign, I will do so of my own personal volition, and not otherwise. People have grievances with other people, and those who want me to resign seem to have their own grievances as well," she said. The minister declined to comment specifically on the widespread reports that she launched such an unexpectedly-ferocious defence of Lowassa and Chenge in particular, during the CCM parliamentary caucus meeting. Stated she: "I have kept quiet for a whole week, even after serious allegations and abuse were thrown at me...I did not want to comment on anything because I am not that kind of person." "I would not like to talk about anything that transpired during that meeting. It was a high-level party meeting, thus to publicly discuss anything arising from such a meeting is uncalled for. They are internal party matters." "The people leaking information from that meeting have exaggerated a lot of things, and all for their own interests, with the aim of tarnishing my image. If you really wish to know what was said during the meeting, maybe you should contact those who leaked the information in the first place." Apart from being the minister responsible for good governance, working straight from the President's Office, Ms Simba is also incumbent chairperson of the CCM women's wing (UWT), and sits on the ruling party's central committee. She said since no journalists were invited to the CCM parliamentary caucus meeting(s) chaired by former president Ali Hassan Mwinyi, local newspapers have basically been publishing inaccurate reports of what transpired. "It is unfortunate that a lot has been said by people who were not even in the meeting(s)," Ms Simba remarked. A number of CCM legislators who attended the parliamentary caucus meeting in Dodoma have separately told THISDAY that minister Simba, amongst other things, brandished a letter purportedly from the UK's Serious Fraud Office (SFO), and claimed that the letter cleared Chenge of any criminal wrongdoing in the radar deal. The SFO has been conducting a long-running investigation into the sale of an overpriced military radar system to the third phase government of ex-president Benjamin Mkapa in 2002, at one point questioning Chenge" the then attorney-general - over his role in the transaction. This was after the discovery of more than $1m stashed away in an offshore bank account controlled by Chenge in the UK. As a result of the subsequent fallout, Chenge was last year forced to resign from his new position as a senior government minister. Following Ms Simba's reported assertions in the CCM parliamentary caucus meeting that both Chenge and ex-premier Lowassa were "clean", one senior CCM legislator told THISDAY: "She (Simba) is now perceived as a minister who condones corruption...and remember, she is the minister responsible for good governance." "Her remarks have only served to send the wrong signal to PCCB (Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau) and other government investigating agencies," the legislator added.