Tanzania’s main opposition party Chadema and the Police force are locked in an exchange of words ahead of Tundu Lissu’s arrival on Monday July 27.
Police has said they are not aware, therefore, deeming it an illegal assembly whereas Chadema maintain they are going ahead with the planned reception of the firebrand politician.
“We have crosschecked across the country to see if there is any such notice but there is none,” reads a statement by the police.
To cheer his arrival at the Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam, Chadema has mobilized supporters to welcome the former Singida East legislator back home.
However, the police maintained that they would take action if Chadema goes ahead with its welcoming plans.
“When you want to mobilise a gathering like the country-wide gatherings being organized by Chadema, the law requires the organisers to notify the police 48 hours before,” said police spokesman David Misime.
On Saturday, police issued a statement warning against any assembly at the airport for the purpose of welcoming Mr Lissu, who is also one of the presidential aspirants for Chadema.
The police said any Tanzanian has the right to come home safely, but are concerned by efforts of the opposition party to mobilise supporters to throng the airport.
“We do not expect to see anyone behaving wildly in this period when we are mourning the death of former President Benjamin Mkapa. We will deal with any violations against the law,” added Mr Misime.
Chadema issued a statement yesterday saying Mr Lissu would arrive at around 1.20pm and continued to ask supporters to be at the airport to “peacefully” welcome Mr Lissu who is the party’s deputy chairman.
According to the statement, Mr Lissu will pay his last respects to former president Mkapa at the Uhuru stadium, alongside other Tanzanians.
“We will go ahead with our plan of welcoming Mr Lissu because it is our right,” said Chadema secretary general John Mnyika in his Twitter posting.
Some party officials said on different occasions that there was not any violation of laws, as the party was planning neither a meeting nor protests at the airport, things that they said would require the permission from the police.
“Does anyone welcoming a relative or friend at the airport need to notify the police?” the party deputy secretary general, Mr Benson Kigailla, queried.
“The laws on political parties require us to notify the police when we hold meeting or protest. We are doing neither of these,” he added.
The firebrand politician left the country on September 7, 2017 after unknown assailants shot him several times in broad daylight at his home in Area D Dodoma after he had arrived from Parliament.
He was first treated in Nairobi before he was flown to Belgium for specialised treatment , Lissu had earlier on set his return for September 7 2019 but he postponed it due to what he called security concerns.