Tanzania’s opp. leader seeks refuge in German ambassador's residence following death threats

2020-11-08 20:25:13
Tanzania’s opp. leader seeks refuge in German ambassador's residence following death threats

Tanzania’s opposition leader has sought political asylum subsequent to taking refuge in the German ambassador's residence in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam, mentioning he had received death threats following a disputed election late last month.

Tundu Lissu, the head of leading opposition party CHADEMA and the main rival of President John Magufuli in the October 28 election, told reporters on Saturday that had received death threats immediately after the vote, which made him enter the residence of German Ambassador Regine Hess in Dar es Salaam.

"I received two unknown calls whose callers told me they will deal with me once and for all," Lissu said.

"I had to move from my home last Sunday to a friend's home and then on Monday I went to the German residence seeking a temporary refuge for security reasons. Before entering the residence, I was arrested and questioned temporarily before they released me," he added.

"We are now waiting for the embassy to negotiate with the government for us to leave to go abroad. I cannot leave in a normal way without security assurance," he stated.

Speaking from the German ambassador’s residence, he also made the claim that he had been pursued by Tanzanian police officers and that an order to “murder” him had already been issued.

Magufuli was declared on October 30 the winner of the presidential election in Tanzania with 84 percent of the vote, in comparison to Lissu’s 13 percent, with observers stating that the polls were marred by widespread irregularities.

Lissu and other opposition leaders, including CHADEMA chairman Freeman Mbowe, were briefly taken into custody this week after calling for nationwide protests against the vote results and asking for a re-run of the election.

Lissu survived an assassination attempt back in 2017, when he was shot 16 times in his car in what still remains an unsolved case. The 52-year-old returned to Tanzania in July subsequent to having spent three years in exile in Belgium.

Magufuli, who was sworn in on Thursday for his final five-year term, has vowed to work with his rivals and peacefully deal with the opposition parties in the east African country.

Magufuli has been praised by many for pushing through big-impact infrastructure projects and a sweeping anti-corruption campaign.

His critics accuse the government of intolerance and authoritarianism, including (but not limited to) a crackdown on critical voices, closure of some media outlets and prevention of opposition rallies. The government has adamantly denied such allegations.

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