The bosses shot you full of holes; takes more than guns to kill a man, says he I didn’t die

Monday February 4 2019

Tundu Lissu

Tanzanian opposition leader Tundu Lissu in an interview on the BBC’s Hard Talk programme in London. PHOTO | BBC 

JENERALI ULIMWENGU
By JENERALI ULIMWENGU
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Remember the Tanzanian firebrand politician who was attacked in a hail of bullets in Dodoma some 15 months ago and had to be rushed to Nairobi and then on to Belgium for urgent medical attention?

Well, he is on his feet again, and talking (and oh, man, is he talking), making those who would have him out of the way sound like they just do not know what to say about this apparently indestructible son of a gun.

It is like, how could he survive such an attack, with at least 16 bullets lodged in his body? Is this a miracle, a shoddy job done by the “gang that could not shoot straight,” some witchcraft-protected Houdini, or what? They are all over the place, on social media and elsewhere, expressing their bewilderment at the fact that the man is alive and still running his mouth.

They are pickled that the man even has enough gravitas to attract a HardTalk interview with BBC’s Steve Sackur.

So they suggest that he failed to answer Sackur’s questions, that the interviewer grilled the man so badly he faltered in his replies, and that the man shamelessly defended homosexuality, and other such silly rants from people whose ability to comprehend even a Kiswahili interview is suspect.

(Well, at least as far as I remember the last time a Tanzanian political honcho appeared on HardTalk it was president Benjamin Mkapa when he was interviewed by Tim Sebastian in a disastrous duel in which the big man confessed he was “very angry” at being accused of having killed “scores of people” in Zanzibar when “only 17 people died.”

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I remember, even then the cheerleaders were hailing their chief for “fixing” Sebastian!

As for “defending homosexuality,” the man who was shot simply stated the obvious, that what people do in the confines of their bedrooms is nobody else’s business.

And this has set them foaming at the mouth, spewing scatological invective that can only qualify to be aired at a festival for poets of the bathroom.

Schizophrenic

But they needed some junk science to shore up their “proof” that the man who was attacked in Dodoma is schizophrenic (I suppose such people should be shot!) and they go and concoct an unsigned report by “A Concerned Psychiatrist” in Birmingham, UK, who seems to be worried about the politician’s anti-African, pro-Western activities that help the imperialists to loot the continent’s riches!

What really takes the Michael out of me is how foolish whoever is arranging these hoaxes thinks his readers are... and how right he is, from the reactions of some of the allegedly “educated” individuals who take time before seeing the obvious humbug.

You want to laugh, but then you want to cry, and you are marooned between that bitter-lemon grin of the lost itinerant and the enthusiastic idiot’s uncomprehending smile.

You want to believe that we are all basically rational, and that this rationality impels us to choose paths that will serve us well in the fullness of time, but then you are repeatedly assailed by the realisation that, in the immortal jazz music line, it ain’t necessarily so.

I suspect that the people who shot this man in September 2017 are the same people we see in church on Sunday and in mosques on Friday, and they were these long, drawn faces of repentance week in week out, begging for forgiveness, “as we forgive those who transgress against us.”

Then, on Sunday afternoon or Friday afternoon, they send out armed goons to shoot those who just disagreed with them, forget about transgressing against them.

It is mind-boggling to think that these are the same people, but they are. Their behaviour speaks to the hypocrisy of our lives, but it is one factor that we should always keep at the forefront of our minds. These are liars, and they have been lying to us all along.

The man they shot is the first among the young breed of lawyers to have raised their voices against the despoliation of this country’s natural resources, long before anyone else (the late bloomers) even thought of thinking about the issues involved.

We must never allow them to rewrite history where it suits them. We must be bold enough to tell them that we remember that the man who led that struggle is the man they shot in Dodoma, and his name is Tundu Antipas Lissu.

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