Dar es Salaam. Chadema presidential candidate Tundu Lissu yesterday addressed a rally at the Zakhem grounds in Dar es Salaam ahead of the October General Election recalling the September 7, 2017 assassination attempt in which he was the target in Dodoma.
Mr Lissu - who arrived back in the country on July 27, this year after expressing his intention to vie for Union presidency - specifically thanked three people who rushed him to Dodoma Regional Referral Hospital for treatment immediately after the attack.
He named the trio as former Deputy Speaker (the late) Juma Akukweti’s daughter Khadija Akukweti, his driver Adam Mohamed Bakari and house help Amina Abdulrahman Kanyama.
“These are the people who rushed me to Dodoma Regional Referral Hospital immediately after the attack. Probably, without them, I wouldn’t have been here alive today,” he told a multitude who attended the rally.
Dodoma Regional Referral Hospital workers, those in Nairobi and Belgium, he said, did a lot to ensure his life was served including carrying out 24 operations and donating several litres of blood to him.
He thanked party chairman Freeman Mbowe and former Health Permanent Secretary Dr Mpoki Ulisubisya for standing firm to ensure he was sent to a hospital in Nairobi and not the MNH over security concerns.
“Although I carry many scars, I thank God that I’m alive. I thank everybody across the world for their role to save my life through prayers, blood donations and financial support,” he said.
Apart from that, he dwelt on the disqualifications suffered by opposition parties, disclosing that about 1,020 Chadema councillorship candidates were disqualified out of 3,754 aspirants filed in 3,955 wards in Mainland Tanzania. According to him, 53 candidates for parliamentary seats have been eliminated from election participation out of 244 hopefuls approved to contest the October 28 elections.
“They have been eliminated even before the election whistle has been blown. Candidate disqualification has been done unjustifiably against legal procedures and rules,” he said.
“In Zanzibar, as the chairman said, the opposition political party ACT-Wazalendo has suffered a similar blow where a total of 47 candidates including 16 from Pemba have been disqualified,” he claimed.
He further alleged that the country was witnessing multiple disqualification of candidates in its history since reinstatement of the multiparty democracy saying it was an intentional move to ensure CCM was declared winner without elections, a tactic, he claimed was applied during the 2019 civic polls across the country.
According to him, returning officers were implementing instructions given not to declare opposition candidates as winners because it was the government that pays them salaries and provides them withcars and other benefits.
Mr Lissu said party campaign rallies at all levels would start with peaceful protests to demand justice for barred candidates across the country.
“We call upon the National Electoral Commission (NEC) to dispense justice to Chadema’s disqualified candidates and all others from opposition political parties. We will protest peacefully, no stone will be thrown nor shots made,” he said. He instructed every Chadema candidate countrywide to conduct a peaceful protest to demand justice for the other candidates who have been disqualified for the October polls before bidding for votes.
During the maiden rally, Mr Lissu said they had no plans of boycotting the General Election, but he called for support of citizens so that all would be done fairly. “It’s true we don’t have money to fund our campaign, but we need your support for us to remain in the frontline,” he said.
For his part, Chadema chairman Freeman Mbowe said his faith in Mr Lissu was based on the fact that he was capable of treating all fairly.
“But to do so he will need the support base of enough Members of Parliament (MPs) and council members,” he said. He said Chadema would suspend launching its election manifesto until all those whose candidacy has been unjustly disqualified are reinstated insisting 2019 mistake would not repeat in this year’s elections.
“What this does it deny the majority citizens their right and freedom to vote. I have spoken to party’s presidential candidate as well as official communications with other political parties,” he said, adding: “I think there are important issues to deliberate before speaking of presidential, parliamentarian and councillorship polls.”
Party’s secretary general John Mnyika said yesterdays’ schedule included the launch of the Chadema election manifesto, but it has been pushed back until further dates over disqualifications of their candidates.
The state-run television live broadcasts had to be cut short after its workers were ordered out of the venue on grounds that they did partial coverage of the events as they skipped key messages by some speakers.
The broadcaster found itself in a difficult corner after failing to satisfy expectations of Chadema cadres, members, supporters and the audience following frequent stoppage as the event was going on. “You have 15 minutes to leave from this place,” Mr Mbowe ordered.
Later, yesterday, TBC management issued a statement expressing disappointment over Chadema decision, saying it has suspended broadcasting the party’s rallies following the treatment which was as per the electoral laws and guidelines issued by NEC.
The broadcaster further said it would report the matter to the police and NEC.
Meanwhile, internet coverage was shut off when Mr Lissu started demonstrating before party cadres, members and supporters how to make financial transactions through mobile money to fund his election campaigns.
“Has network coverage been shut off? Let me describe and practice it on your own at home,” he was quoted as telling the rally.
Both Islamic and Christian clerics who officiated the event prayed for justice during this year’s General Election, saying officials and law enforcement organs who will disrupt and defy electoral processes should be punished by God. They reminded presidential candidates who will be voted to hold offices to treat all fairly and pick up executives who will be ready to treat all citizens equally and equitably.
Clerics urged candidates to pronounce forgiveness even to those who subjected them to harassment and sufferings for God to usher his blessings.
“Mr Lissu, once you are blessed by voters in this election; pronounce justice and be a blessing to the people. I pray for NEC to declare true winners,” said Moravian Bishop Emmaus Mwamakula.
About the rally
Thousands of party cadres, members and supporters yesterday attended the rally that would be followed by another meeting slated to take place at the Tanganyika Packers grounds in Kawe today.
Mr Lissu’s convoy started at the party’s headquarters in Ufipa Street in Kinondoni District.