Lissu praises Samia, plans to return home

Dar es Salaam. A firebrand Tanzanian opposition figure, Mr Tundu Lissu, is set to return home sooner rather than later after being satisfied with the leadership of President Samia Suluhu Hassan.

Mr Lissu, who survived an assassination attempt in 2017 in Dodoma, lives in Belgium in a self-imposed exile.

Speaking in an interview with a local television--- Start TV on Saturday, the opposition leader said he would return home soon because he is optimistic that the Head of State will give him assurance of his security.

Mr Lissu, who is the Chadema vice chairman, has spent most of his time in Belgium since 2017, showered praise on President Hassan for taking the nation to the right direction.

“As for now, we are no longer counting years before I return home . We are not counting months. We are not counting weeks,” said Mr Lissu.

In his meeting with President Hassan in Brussels last month, Mr Lissu said he had requested her to stand out publicly and assure him his security.

Noting that those who involved in the assassination attempt were still unknown and no one was arrested, he questioned about how he would be sure of his security.

“President Samia promised to work on my issue (security assurance) and I am positive she will do so,” said the exiled opposition leader. “She has a lot to do on her table. I don’t think she has ignored my request.”

He said the President was a good listener and there was every sign that she is committed to building a country which respects principles of democracy and justice.

This could be attested to his meeting with Mr Lissu in Brussels, and religious leaders whom in their togetherness requested her to use her influence to drop the terrorism and economic sabotage case that Chadema chairman Freeman Mbowe and his three co-accused were facing.

In his meeting with the President, Mr Lissu also raised concerns about his fate and that of other opposition politicians who fled Tanzania to seek asylum abroad, after their lives were put in danger during the fifth phase regime.

On what Mr Lissu attributed to pressure from political leaders, religious leaders, other countries and the public at large, Mr Mbowe and his three co-accused were earlier this month released after spending eight months in remand. He also commended President Hassan for aiding him to get a new passport after losing his old one in Germany.

“There is light at the end of tunnel in Tanzania’s politics, thanks to President Hassan’s U-turn in the way she is handling things,” said Mr Lissu. However, he said, for the President to keep the momentum going, she should need support from the opposition political parties.

“She has started well, but she still has a long way to go for her to do better, she needs our support,” said Mr Lissu, noting that a new constitution will be a solution to the challenges related to the lack of good governance.

He detailed that the President needed encouragement and much-needed support so that she could be able to build a country that respects principles of good democracy.