Tanzania’s opposition leader Tundu Lissu Wednesday returned to Tanzania after his attempted assassination in 2017, which he claims was politically motivated. The Lissu announced his return last Thursday on Twitter, detailing his flight and landing details while announcing his comeback and future political ambitions.
Lissu said President Samoa Suluhu Hassan’s early January decision to lift the illegal ban on political activity has allowed him to return to Tanzanian soil and do what Tanzanian law has always entitled politicians to do—“carry out political rallies, meetings, demonstrations in accordance to Tanzanian law.” Upon arrival, a cheering crowd surrounded Lissu. Lissu expressed joy at being able to return to his country. Lissu also announced his future ambition for his home:
I assure you if we all come together build a very strong national movement in the next few years, I am sure we will be able to get a free, fair electoral commission and a new constitution for our country even before the next election of 2025.
In his interview with VOA Africa, Lissu recalled his attempted assassination on Sep 7, 2017, just outside his parliamentary apartment. He stressed that the people involved in that attack are still unidentified to this day. Lissu said being unable to return home and separated from the country and people he loved for 6 years has been “difficult.”
However, Lissu expressed his solemn determination to serve Tanzania and emphasized that he never left the political scene. When asked about his vision, Lissu said he believes that the country needs a new democratic constitution that creates a responsible government that focuses on justice and people-centered development.
Previously, under former President John Magufuli’s blanket ban on political organization and rallies, Lissu was accused of sedition for criticizing the government. Lissu received death threats. Additionally, government authorities arrested and prosecuted Lissu eight times. Following the arrests, an assassinator attempted to take Lissu’s life by shooting the political leader 16 times. Lissu required 25 surgeries and four months of hospitalization in Kenya before he was able to transfer to Belgium. Prior to Wednesday, Lissu only briefly returned to Tanzania for three months during his 2020 election campaign.