Tundu Lissu goes for treatment in Europe, blames Tanzania govt

Friday January 05 2018

Tanzanian opposition leader Tundu Lissu speaks to journalists at the Nairobi Hospital on January 5, 2018. Doctors at the hospital successfully removed eight bullets from his body after the September 7, 2017 gun attack outside his Dodoma home. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NMG


Tanzanian opposition leader Tundu Lissu, who has been in hospital in Kenya for the past four months, still has a bullet lodged in his body.

Doctors at Nairobi Hospital successfully removed eight bullets from his body after the September 7, 2017 gun attack outside his Dodoma home.

“I still have one bullet just below my spine. Doctors feel it’s not a threat and removing it would be riskier than leaving it there,” he told journalists at the hospital on Friday.

And now he is leaving for a European country, which he declined to name, for further medical attention so that he can walk again.

“I will let you know which country I have travelled to as soon as I safely arrive and settle down in my physical rehabilitation programme designed to help me walk again,” he said.

Assassination attempt


Mr Lissu once again termed his attack an assassination attempt, adding that Tanzanian police were yet to interview him in an effort to unveil the attackers’ identities.

“The attack was purely an assassination attempt by the people in power in Tanzania. It is by God’s grace that I survived,” said Mr Lissu. “My attackers had no intention of leaving me alive, as evidenced by the use of military grade weapons.”

The fiery critic of the John Magufuli administration, who is the opposition chief whip in parliament, said his car had a 38 bullet holes.

He wondered why police were yet to make any arrests in. 

“We are deeply concerned that the police are yet to make any arrests despite the attack having taken place in a government housing compound guarded by state security officers. It is also puzzling that they were not on duty at the time I was attacked,” he said.

Mr Lissu once again accused the Magufuli government of intolerance, and cited disappearances of critics as a worrying trend. He further blamed the government for trying to muzzle the media and the recent disappearance of journalist Azory Gwanda.

“No attempt has been made by the state machinery to trace his whereabouts,” he said.

The Singida East MP said the government had failed in its constitutional mandate to protect its citizens.

“A government that sends assassins to target politicians for having contrary views should be condemned by the international community,” he said.

'Dark road to dictatorship'

Mr Lissu warned that Tanzania was “fast sliding down a dark road to dictatorship.” He called Tanzania “a land of horrors,” saying the government was determined to crush dissent.

“A Kenyan politician, whom I will not name, warned us some years ago that this regime would commit terrible acts against the opposition should it sense defeat. Based on what is happening in my country right now, I can now confirm that he was right,” he said. 

Mr Lissu claimed that the Tanzanian parliament had not paid his medical expenses, even though it is his right.

He likened the Magufuli regime with “a skunk that should be isolated.” He accused the administration of violating its own manifesto by locking out schoolgirls who fall pregnant. 

“We wonder whether it is a crime for a girl to give birth. This infringes on their human rights.”

Mr Lissu paid glowing tribute to his wife Alice and two sons Agostino and Edward for being constantly at his side, and the Chadema chairman Freeman Mbowe, whose “stubborn insistence for a transfer from Dodoma to Nairobi saved my life.”

He would not be drawn into politics of the 2020 presidential election, saying it was a matter for Chadema party members to decide if he should run against Dr Magufuli of the Chama cha Mapinduzi.

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