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Chadema claims 300 arrested as Lissu lands in Belgium

Thursday November 12 2020
Lissu pic

The opposition leader Tundu Lissu at Julius Nyerere International Airport.

By The Citizen Reporter

Dar es Salaam. Opposition party Chadema has claimed that scores of opposition supporters have been arrested during and after the October 28 vote with the rights groups and international agencies calling for participatory dialogue.

The UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said on Tuesday that at least 150 members of Tanzania’s opposition had been arrested over the elections with 18 reportedly remaining in custody.

“The tense situation in the country will not be defused by silencing those who challenge the outcome of the elections, but rather through a participatory dialogue,” Ms Bachelet warned.

“I urge the Tanzanian authorities to respect and facilitate exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and of peaceful assembly,” she added.

However, Chadema secretary general John Mnyika said over 300 members were in custody up to yesterday.

“We have a list of 294 members who are still in custody and we are waiting for other names. In short, more than 300 people are still held by the law enforcers,” said Mr Mnyika.

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Police spokesperson David Misime could not immediately respond to questions sent through a text message about the matter.After the election results were announced, both Chadema and ACT Wazalendo called for street demonstrations against the results, but their leaders were swiftly detained and a heavy security presence deterred potential protest action.

MrLissu, who was himself detained and questioned after dismissing the election as a sham, said he was leaving Tanzania for Belgium, but did not specify for how long.

Meanwhile, Chadema deputy chairman TunduLissu landed in Belgium on wednesday after leaving Tanzania days after the opposition party’s flag-bearer lost the October 28 Presidential Election.

Mr Lissu returned home to run for president in July from Belgium where he was receiving treatment following an assassination attempt near his home in Dodoma on September 7 in 2017.

 His presidential bid flopped after scoring only 13 percent of the votes against the incumbent, Dr John Magufuli, who officially won by 84.4 percent.

After refusing to accept the results and calling for mass protests, Mr Lissu, who was briefly arrested, raised security concerns until his departure on Tuesday.

Yesterday, he confirmed in a short text message to AFP that he had flown to Belgium via Addis Ababa and Vienna but there were no other details.

However, before his departure, Mr Lissu said he was leaving for both security and health reasons.

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