Two guarantors of a bond granted to Tanzanian opposition politician Tundu Lissu have requested the court to allow them to withdraw their sureties, paving the way for a warrant of arrest against him for allegedly jumping bail over a sedition case.
The Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s court in Dar es Salaam is expected to rule on the request on March 10.
Robert Katula and Ibrahim Ahmed had based their bond on their belief that Mr Lissu, who has been out of the country since September 2017 seeking treatment for gunshot wounds sustained in an assassination attempt in Dodoma, needed the time to recuperate and therefore had justifiably been unable to attend case hearings as required since then.
They want out: “We have made several unsuccessful attempts to convince Mr Lissu to come home, now that he is apparently fully recovered, and face the charges against him. We are now requesting the court to issue an arrest warrant so we can finally be free and get back to our own businesses,” Mr Katula said.
The court had, in an earlier case mentioned December 19 last year, given the sureties an ultimatum to ensure Mr Lissu was present for the next mention. A ruling will be made after the prosecution has studied the withdrawal application.
In August last year, Mr Lissu was pronounced sufficiently healed to travel home by the Belgian hospital where he was being treated. But he has delayed his return because of what he describes as concerns about his personal safety, as investigation into his shooting appears to have ground to a standstill and his unidentified assailants remain at large.
In the sedition case, he faces five charges including violating the Newspaper Act of 2002. Mr Lissu was last year controversially stripped of his parliamentary seat on grounds of absenteeism for failing to attend three consecutive House sessions.