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Tanzania Opposition leader Tundu Lissu says he will continue with fight abroad

By Mercy Asamba | November 12th 2020

Tanzanian opposition leader Tundu Lissu.

Tanzanian opposition leader Tundu Lissu, says he received death threats that prompted him to leave the country for Belgium.

In an interview with BBC, the politician who survived an assassination attempt in 2017, said he took the threats on his life seriously.

"I was called by people who said that an order for them to deal with me once and for all - as they put it - was out and therefore they advised me to run for my dear life, and that's what I did," he told BBC.

He added: “They did not identify themselves but clearly they made me understand that they were from the intelligence and security apparatus.”

Lissu said he started receiving these calls immediately after his police protection was detached, the day President John Pombe Magufuli was declared the winner of the highly contested election.

The Chadema Party leader said he was not seeking asylum in Belgium as he was a legal resident of Belgium and wanted to continue with the fight abroad.

“I’m not seeking asylum, I spent two and a half years here, I’m a legal resident in Belgium. I have no reason to seek political asylum. But more importantly, I’m here because I want to continue the fight,” he said.

The politician was resolute that he wanted the world to know what had happened to Tanzania the past five years during Magufuli’s rule who was sworn in for a second five-year term this month.

He accused Magufuli’s administration of exercising dictatorship by arresting innocent Tanzanians who seemed to oppose him.

Lissu fled the East African country on Monday.

In a video posted on his Twitter account, the politician is seen leaving for the airport accompanied by officials, whose identity is still unknown.

His departure followed a crackdown on Tanzanian’s opposition that has forced critics to flee the country.

On Sunday former Arusha Urban Constituency MP Godbless Lema was arrested at Ilbissil in Kajiado County, after attempting to flee to Kenya.

The Standard reported that Lema who was accompanied by his wife Neema Godbless and their three children crossed over to Kenya at the Namanga border, who have since been released.

“The police pursued and intercepted us at Ilbisil, where they took us to the local police post. I did not want them to lock up Lema in Ilbisil, owing to its proximity to the Tanzanian border," his lawyer George Luchiri Wajackoyah told The Standard.

Other Opposition leaders who faced similar arrests include Freeman Mbowe, former Dar es Salaam mayor Isaya Mwita, and the former mayor of Ubungo municipality Boniface Jacob.

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