‘Magu­fuli’s govt played a role in gun at­tack of critic’

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

NAIROBI — Tan­za­nia’s main op­po­si­tion party claimed on Tues­day that the govern­ment of President John Magu­fuli played a role in the gun at­tack last week that wounded an out­spo­ken politi­cian and shocked the coun­try.

The law­maker, Tundu Lissu, has had a se­ries of run-ins with the govern­ment and has been ar­rested at least six times this year, ac­cused of in­sult­ing the president and dis­turb­ing pub­lic or­der, among other charges.

“The govern­ment is in­volved in this at­tack,” Ben­son Ki­gaila, who han­dles de­fence and se­cu­rity mat­ters for op­po­si­tion party CHADEMA, told re­porters in Tan­za­nia’s main city of Dar es Salaam. “Magu­fuli and his govern­ment ha­rassed Tundu Lissu be­cause he wouldn’t stop crit­i­cis­ing, in and out of par­lia­ment, President Magu­fuli.”

Lissu, chief whip for the par­lia­men­tary op­po­si­tion, was at­tacked at his home in the cap­i­tal Dodoma on Thurs­day, af­ter re­turn­ing from a par­lia­men­tary ses­sion.

He was shot in the stom­ach and leg, ac­cord­ing to lo­cal me­dia re­ports, and the party said he was in crit­i­cal con­di­tion.

Af­ter be­ing trans­ferred to a hospi­tal in Nairobi, the party re­ported that his con­di­tion had im­proved.

“They kill in or­der to si­lence peo­ple, but we will not be si­lenced,” said Ki­gaila, who added that the at­tack hap­pened in an area guarded by se­cu­rity forces that is home to min­is­ters.

Lissu (49) is also president of Tan­za­nia’s bar as­so­ci­a­tion, the Tan­ganyika Law So­ci­ety, as well as be­ing CHADEMA’s at­tor­ney gen­eral.

His most re­cent ar­rest was in Au­gust af­ter re­veal­ing that a plane bought for the na­tional car­rier had been im­pounded in Canada over un­paid govern­ment debts.

CHADEMA’s vice president Ab­dal­lah Sa­fari said the “only in­fer­ence for or­di­nary Tan­za­ni­ans is that the po­lice and the govern­ment are in­volved in this at­tempted as­sas­si­na­tion”.

For his part, Magu­fuli wrote on Twit­ter that he was “shocked to hear the news of the at­tack on Tundu Lissu and I pray to god almighty that he will soon re­cover.”

The president, who came to power in 2015 as a cor­rup­tion­fight­ing “man of the peo­ple”, has been in­creas­ingly crit­i­cised over his au­thor­i­tar­ian lead­er­ship style, with a clam­p­down on the op­po­si­tion, jour­nal­ists and artists.

In July, Lissu was charged with hate speech af­ter call­ing Magu­fuli a “dic­ta­tor”. — AFP

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