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Tanzanian opposition politician accuses state of attempted murder

By Daniel Wesangula | Published Sat, January 6th 2018 at 00:00, Updated January 5th 2018 at 19:43 GMT +3
Tanzania opposition politician who is also chief whip Tundu Lissu during a press conferences on January 5, 2018. Lissu who had 18 bullets pumped into his body and his vehicle said he has recovered very well. [Edward Kiplimo,Standard]

Fiery Tanzanian opposition MP Tundu Lissu has called on the international community to intervene in what he termed as intolerance to criticism by President John Pombe Magufuli’s government, which he accused of extra-judicial killings.

The MP, who has been in Nairobi Hospital in Nairobi, claimed that his shooting four months ago was an attempt on his life for his criticism of Magufuli and his policies.

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Seated in a wheel chair and still in hospital gowns Friday, Mr Lissu addressed journalists saying the attempt on his life was a major concern in Tanzania.

“When a government starts killing and silencing dissenting voices, then the international community needs to intervene,” he said.

Lissu claimed all indications on the attempt on his life pointed at a government job.

“On the day I was shot, I had left Parliament and was headed home. I live in a government housing project. As the opposition chief whip, I am under 24-hour surveillance by government forces. How is it that my car was shot at 38 times with all that protection around me?” he said.

He is also president of the Tanganyika Law Society and also serves as the opposition party’s shadow Attorney General.

He said 16 of the 38 bullets either went in or through his body. Eight were lodged in his body. Seven have been surgically removed during his four-month stay in hospital. One was left after doctors said it posed no danger to his life.

Assassinations are rare in Tanzania and the President described the attack on Lissu as “barbaric.” The police have announced no progress in the investigation despite the attack taking place in a ?compound that Lissu says has CCTV.

“But the footage has gone missing,” he said Friday.

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He said the attack was carried out by assault rifles. Lissu has had numerous run-ins with Magufuli’s government and said he was arrested several times in the past year over incitement claoms, insulting the President and disturbing public order.

The December 7 shooting of the 49-year-old exposed Dar-es Salaam’s abrasive nature and aggression towards critics. Musicians, journalists, thespians and activists have borne the brunt of the system’s intolerance to dis sent.