Opposition Chief Whip Tundu Lissu blames attempt on his life on Tanzania Government

Tanzania Opposition chief whip Tundu Lissu leaves Nairobi Hospital after four months. He survived an assassination  attempt  in September 2017 outside his home in Dodoma, Tanzania. [Edward Kiplimo,Standard]

Nairobi Friday Dec 4, Tanzanian Opposition Chief Whip Tundu Lissu has blamed his near-fatal shooting outside his house in Dodoma in September on President John Magufuli’s Government.

Lissu, who was today discharged from Nairobi Hospital to where he was flown for specialised treatment after his car was sprayed with 36 bullets, 16 of which hit him with eight being lodged in his body, called on the international community to isolate Magufuli’s government.

Addressing a press conference in a wheelchair, he said of the eight bullets, doctors had removed seven and will not extract the remaining one because it poses no danger to his life b its removal would.

“This is the time to turn the government of President Magufuli into an international skunk,” said Tundu borrowing words from Nelson Mandela’s description of Apartheid-era South Africa.

He said his shooters had armed themselves with military-grade weapons, trailed him from parliament and opened fire on his car outside his home at 2pm in broad daylight with an intention to kill.

Lissu, also the chairman of the Tanganyika Law Society, said the following factors are prove that the shooting was a state-sanctioned assassination attempt.

  • That he lives in a state-provided house paid for by Parliament in a neighbourhood where the Tanzanian Deputy Speaker is his neighbour and is guarded 24/7 both at the entrance and inside.
  • That, even as the government insists that his attackers are unknown, the policemen guarding the neighbourhood were nowhere to be seen when as the shooting happened.
  • That he does not know what became of the footage that CCTV cameras in the estate must have captured
  • That him and his driver have not been questioned by Tanzanian police although they are ideally the first witnesses to the shooting
  • That the Tanzanian Parliament has played hide-and-seek to avoid paying his sustenance and medical bills in Nairobi although he is legally entitled to it as an MP. “They’ve not paid even 10 or 25 cents.”
  • That President Magufuli and Tanzanian police have not commented on his shooting; that Dar authorities muzzled publication about the attempted assassination
  • That Tanzanian Police declined external assistance  in investigating the matter

 He said the wall of silence suggests that the people behind the shooting had treated it as fait accompli.

“They were sure I would be dead. It was a political assassination. Nothing else,” he said.

Said Lissu: “I have been a Magufuli critic since 2015; in my view that is the reason for my shooting.”

According to him, failure to shut up after eight arrests must have convinced his enemies that he needed to be bumped off.

Lissu said it was time the media and the international community went vocal on events in Tanzania where a journalist and an opposition politician have gone missing and “bodies are routinely found floating in the sea.”

In Tanzania’s parliamentary history before and after independence, he said, “there has never been a case of a group of people taking up arms to assassinate a political leader on an account of his political stand.”

Lissu thanked Nairobi Hospital doctors and nurses for their dedication to save his life.

“I came here half-dead, my limps and organs in very bad shape,” said extending special thanks to  internal medicine expert Dr Frank Mwogera and bone expert Dr Vincent Mutiso.