Tanzani main opposition leader Tundu Lissu [photo: WFMZ.com]
Nov, 3rd 2020 – Tanzania opposition leader Tundu Lissu has been set free following his arrest over planned protests yesterday. Dozens of other opposition officials and supporters across the country were arrested in connection with planned protests.
These arrests were the government’s efforts to curb the protests that rose after Tanzania’s elections declared president John Magufuli the winner. According to main opposition party Chadema, opposition presidential candidate Lissu was released after being questioned for more than two hours.
He said, “They wanted to know my role in the planned coup d’état. I told them I was only planning to demonstrate against that fraudulent election. That’s all.”
The main opposition parties have rejected official results which saw President John Magufuli win a second term with 84 percent with his governing Chama Cha Mapinduzi party taking 97 percent of parliamentary seats. The Chadema and ACT Wazalendo parties called for peaceful demonstrations on Monday as well as fresh elections.
Speaking to journalists in the Commercial capital, Dar es Salaam, Regional police Commander Lazaro Mambosasa said, “We did not issue a permit for anyone to hold demonstrations, so these are illegal demonstrations.”
Chadema then took it to Twitter to inform the people that their 52 year old candidate had been released. A spokesman for the Chadema party said Lissu was detained in Dar es Salaam at a building housing the embassies of Britain, Germany and netherlands along with the European Union delegation to Tanzania.
Jeffrey Smith of Vanguard Africa, a Washington-based pro democracy non-profit organization said that Lissu who is in partnership with them said on phone that he had been seeking diplomatic protection for several hours with no avail.
Chadema said that 20 senior party officials have been detained. Chadema chairman Freeman Mbowe with at least six others who were arrested are still in custody. Mambosasa said, “We arrested them in a meeting to organise the protests which we already banned. Some of these people travelled from upcountry to Dar es Salaam and are trying to use youths to take it to the streets.”
He also added that those arrested admitted to organizing criminal activities such as setting petrol stations, markets, vehicles and some government offices on fire.