Tanzania’s Opposition Leader Exiles Himself in Belgium Away From Magufuli’s Arrest

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The chaotic aftermath of the Tanzania elections have seen scores of opposition leaders arrested as President Pombe cracks the whip on dissenting voices.

Following Magufuli’s win, opposition leader Tundu Lissu left the country and arrived in Belgium on Wednesday as he escaped Magufuli’s wrath.

The opposition leader had on November 10 told reporters that his life is in danger. Image/Courtesy

It is now believed that Lissu will be exiled in Belgium. losing last month’s presidential election in a disputed vote.

While Lissu did not provide further details, he told reporters that he had flown to Belgium via Addis Ababa and Vienna.

Before he left for Belgium, Lissu had been sheltering at the German embassy in Tanzania since November 2, his wife Alicia said.

The US ambassador to Tanzania, Donald Wright, said Lissu had left Tanzania “to seek medical treatment abroad” but a law firm acting for Lissu described this as “entirely false”.

Asked before his departure whether he was leaving for health or security reasons, Lissu said “both”.

Lissu, 52, returned to Tanzania in July after spending three years abroad recovering from an assassination attempt he believes was politically motivated, in which he was shot 16 times.

Magufuli won a crushing 84 percent of the vote, in a ballot that the opposition says was stained by massive fraud, and his party took 97 percent of the parliamentary seats up for grabs.

Lissu was the main opposition challenger but officially won just 13 percent of the vote, while popular opposition MPs lost seats in key strongholds.

The opposition called for street demonstrations against the results, but their leaders were swiftly detained and a heavy security presence deterred potential protest action.

Lissu was himself detained and questioned after dismissing the election as a sham.

 

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