Lissu seeks asylum citing Magufuli’s fresh threats on his life

TANZANIA’s opposition candidate in the just-ended general election, Tundu Lissu, is seeking asylum, citing secret reports of President John Magufuli allegedly ordering his squad to eliminate him.

Unconfirmed reports have it that the determination is to silence Lissu “once and for all,” and some agents have been put in place with a set of assassination methods, including poisoning. In another interview, Lissu has confirmed his fears.

SAUTI KUBWA understands that Lissu, a miraculous survivor of an assassination attempt in 2017, is currently harboured at the residence of the German Ambassador in Dar es Salaam, as police remain on the guard in the vicinity of the residence, waiting to arrest him in case he leaves the premises.

Last week, police arrested him in front of Umoja House where the embassies of the United Kingdom, The Netherlands and Germany are located, shortly before he entered the embassy to meet the ambassador. Embassy officials had him released from the Central Police Station on diplomatic understanding, and the embassy has been protecting him since.

Negotiations are underway between the German Embassy and Tanzania’s foreign affairs ministry regarding Lissu’s safe exit from the ambassador’s residence and the country. Reports say the foreign ministry is still reluctant to assure him of the safe exit, on the grounds that he has court charges to answer.

Lissu returned home in late July from Brussels, Belgium, where he had been rushed for treatment following an assassination attempt in September 2017. His bid to unseat President Magufuli was frustrated by the massive rigging in the October 28 election that was highly characterised by state-sponsored military operations and the openly compromised National Electoral Commission (NEC).

Scores of people were left dead in various parts of the country including Zanzibar, Ngorongoro, Tunduma, Nachingwea and others, while opposition leaders, candidates and hundreds of their supporters were harassed and arrested.

In Singida, Lissu’s home turf, 20 people have been arrested in connection with the election, but they are charged with economic crimes. The senior opposition leaders, including Freeman Mbowe, the leader of the main opposition party, were later released by police in Dar es Salaam.

The demonstrations that had been planned by the opposition on 2nd November 2020 to protest the stolen election and demand for a fresh vote and the overhaul of the electoral commission, were foiled by the heavy presence of police and military officers in several streets of Dar es Salaam.

Magufuli was sworn in yesterday for the second term in office but his directives against Lissu were allegedly issued a few days ago.

Despite efforts by the regime to seek diplomatic endorsements of the election from friendly institutions, the Tanzania Election Watch (TEW) panel of Eminent Person is one of the reputable entities that have described the election as “not credible.”