Lissu says may run for president in 2020 polls

Thursday December 27 2018


Dar es Salaam. As political temperatures ahead of the 2020 General Election start to rise, opposition politician Tundu Lissu yesterday declared that he was ready to contest the presidency on the opposition Chadema ticket.

Speaking to The Citizen yesterday, Mr Lissu who is the Member of Parliament for Singida-East (Chadema) said given approval by his party to be the flagbearer, he will not hesitate.

He was speaking from Belgium where he is receiving final treatment after he sustained severe injuries in the wake of his shooting by unknown people in Dodoma on September 7 last year.

“When they hold meetings to decide on candidates for the forthcoming presidential elections I will be quite ready because, come next year, I will be physically and mentally fit. I am ready to carry the heavy cross in my two hands,” he said.

Giving a clarification on what he meant by “heavy cross”, he said: “National leadership is equivalent to carrying a heavy cross.”

Mr Lissu who is also the former president of Tanganyika Law Society said his code of ethics and his party’s ethics would guide him to decide on the right time to contest for the highest office in the country.

In the 2015 presidential race, opposition parties in the country formed a unity movement, known as UKAWA, to front a single presidential candidate and share other electoral seats.

Ukawa brought together five opposition parties including Chadema, NCCR-Mageuzi, NLD and CUF, which approved former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa as their presidential candidate to take on Dr John Magufuli from the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi.

For the first time since 1995, Tanzanians witnessed a highly contested presidential race which resulted in the opposition candidate scooping 6 million votes against the ruling party candidate who won by a margin of around 3 million votes.

Regarding his health status, Lissu said he was set to begin the New Year without metals in his body as he was set to undergo surgery to remove supporting devices from his body on December 31.

According to him, the devices were placed in his body by specialist doctors on September 9, this year. “This month (December) doctors will carry out final surgery to remove devices, which were placed in my body and stayed there for six months from July 9,” he said.

He said after the removal of the devices he would be able to undergo physical exercises for fitness.

“After engaging in physical exercises, I will no longer use supporting tools and I will be ready to attend various meetings and participate in political activities,” he said confidently.

He revealed that he has been invited to attend meetings at the European Union’s head office in Belgium as well as at the BBC on January 15. He is also set to head to Washington DC next February, according to him.

He asked President Magufuli to declare in public that he will guarantee his security when he returns home.