Tanzanian police arrest opposition leader

Tanzania’s primary opposition leader, Tundu Lissu, along with at least two of his senior associates, was apprehended by the police on Sunday for participating in an unlawful assembly, as confirmed by his party and law enforcement authorities.

CHADEMA, Tanzania’s largest opposition party, reported that Lissu was detained at a hotel, along with other party leaders, in the Karatu district of northern Tanzania’s Arusha region.

“Hotel attendants said police asked the room where our Vice Chairman (Lissu) was staying in, they were told and went in … after arguments with Lissu’s security, police entered his room by force and took him away without telling where they were going,” the party said on social media platform X.

CHADEMA stated that following Lissu’s detention, the police also arrested his security personnel and at least two high-ranking party officials.

In a statement, Justine Masejo, the regional police commander for Arusha, clarified that they had apprehended Lissu and three additional individuals for inquiry regarding allegations of hosting an unlawful assembly and obstructing the police in the execution of their duties.

“After the interrogations and completion of other procedures, further legal actions will be taken,” Masejo said.

Since his return from exile in January, Lissu has been organizing political gatherings throughout the country.

During these rallies, Lissu has voiced criticism of President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s administration, specifically addressing concerns related to a contentious ports management agreement and alleged human rights violations.

Lissu came back from exile after Hassan revoked a six-year prohibition on political gatherings. He had resided in Belgium since 2020, when he left Tanzania following his defeat to John Magufuli in the presidential election.

In 2017, Lissu miraculously survived an attack in which he was shot 16 times, an incident widely believed to have been politically motivated.

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