Friday, September 8, 2017

Brazen lunchtime attack leaves nation reeling from shock


By Alawi Masare @AMasare

Dodoma. Soon after adjournment of Parliament’s morning session at 1pm, Singida East MP Tundu Lissu (Chadema) was seen chatting with colleagues around the Bunge grounds.

About 30 minutes later, reporters started disappearing quietly from the media gallery until one of the few left in the room told colleagues that Mr Lissu had been shot by unidentified gunmen as he entered his residence at Area D in Dodoma. He was then rushed to Dodoma’s Referral General Hospital.

MPs, journalists and residents flocked the hospital grounds after the news of the attack that went viral on social media. They thronged the corridors close to the theatre room, which is located near Ward No 1.

It was not easy to talk to anyone as some MPs, the National Assembly Clerk, Dr Thomas Kashilila, Chadema chairman Freeman Mbowe and others were seen busy walking to ensure the MP received treatment.

Some MPs like Kunti Majala (Special Seats-Chadema) were crying.

Security officials tried to block people from approaching hospital corridors, but it was an impossible task. When one wanted to brief the media about what happened, everyone was eager to listen. When Regional Commissioner Jordan Rugimbana, Regional Medical Officer James Charles and Regional Police Commander Gilles Muroto briefed the media about the incident, the room was full. Residents were everywhere and in some cases they inconvenienced journalists. Some residents were outside the gate and others struggled to follow what was going on through the hospital fence.

“When doctors were attending to Mr Lissu, I was denied access to see him and no one is allowed at least for now. Tanzanians should remain calm and avoid gathering in Dodoma,” said Mr Rugimbana.

“Police are hunting for the assailants, who used a white Nissan,” said Mr Muroto. “Mr Lissu is stable for now. He was wounded in his leg and stomach,” said Dr Charles.

Speaker of the National Assembly Job Ndugai accompanied by members of his two teams that investigated gemstone mining arrived at the hospital straight from the airport. They were coming from Dar es Salaam, where the two reports were being handed over to President John Magufuli.

Parliament business resumed at 5.00pm and the Deputy Speaker, Dr Tulia Ackson, briefed MPs on the incident.

“Let us remain calm and pray for quick recovery of Mr Lissu, who is still in hospital,” she said.

By the time the session stared, the opposition side was empty and the debating chamber had many gaps as many MPs were at the hospital following the incident.

Debate on the ratification of two conventions went on as usual.