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Tanzanian Opposition Leader Tundu Lissu Briefly Detained for Unlawful Assembly

by Samantha
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Tanzania’s prominent opposition figure, Tundu Lissu, along with at least three others, found themselves briefly detained by the police on Sunday on charges of holding an unlawful assembly.

The incident occurred just hours before Mr. Lissu was scheduled to attend a rally near the Ngorongoro conservation area.

The arrests took place in the northern town of Karatu, with Mr. Lissu’s party, Chadema, reporting that they were detained at a hotel in the northern Arusha region.

Fortunately, they were later released on bail.

Tundu Lissu’s return to Tanzania from exile in Belgium in January marked a significant development, coming after President Samia Suluhu Hassan lifted a six-year ban on political rallies, which had been imposed by her predecessor.

The move was welcomed by the opposition and it prompted Lissu to announce he would end his exile.

He was welcomed by a large gathering of his supporters at the Julius Nyerere International Airport, before making his way by car to a rally in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam.

Exile had been tough, he told the crowd which was waving his CHADEMA party flags, adding he would push for the enactment of a new constitution.

“Without a new constitution it will be difficult to change anything. Without it we won’t have a free and independent electoral commission,” he said. The current constitution vested too much power in the executive, he said, adding it was imperative to push for reforms. “If you are tired of all these high taxes, high inflation of food… let us find a political solution, let us find a new constitution,” Lissu said.

Since his return, Lissu has been a vocal critic of President Hassan’s administration, he has been criticising the administration for its handling of a controversial ports management deal and human rights violations..

Tundu Lissu’s political journey has not been without peril.

In 2017, he miraculously survived an assassination attempt, enduring at least 16 gunshot wounds.

In 2020, he ran for the presidency but ultimately lost to the late leader, John Magufuli.

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