Police arrested Tundu Lissu, a well-known opposition figure in Tanzania and vice chairman of CHADEMA, in a brief but significant event on suspicion of organizing an unlawful meeting. However, a few hours later, he was quickly freed on bond.
Along with other party leaders, Lissu, an outspoken opponent of President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s administration and a past presidential candidate, was detained at a hotel in the northern Tanzanian region of Arusha. Shortly after, a social media post from Lissu’s party verified their release.
Following her six-year exile in Belgium, Lissu returned to the nation in January and participated in political demonstrations all over the place. His primary points of contention were President Hassan’s record on human rights and his handling of a contentious port management agreement.
John Magufuli, the president from 2015 to 2021, forbade elected officials from hosting rallies outside of their own districts. Magufuli contended that these kinds of events served as a diversion from advancement. This limitation quickly spread to include a complete prohibition on political gatherings, and requests for protests from the opposition were consistently turned down. Parties held indoors were even harassed and disrupted.
In spite of these limitations, Magufuli persisted in organizing protests and touring the nation, stopping impromptu to speak with locals. In an effort to mend fences with the opposition, President Hassan’s administration has lifted the ban on political gatherings. Certain draconian measures, such as the seven-month incarceration of Chadema chairman Freeman Mbowe on “terrorism financing” allegations, have persisted, according to some observers.
In a short video that was shared on social media the day of his arrest, Lissu and other party members were seen making the V-for-victory hand signal, which is a symbol commonly employed by CHADEMA.
Lissu and several others were recently arrested on charges of entering an unauthorized assembly and interfering with police work. The circumstances highlight the continued political unrest and difficulties Tanzanian opposition leaders face.