Tanzania’s opposition chief Tundu Lissu has been dealt a blow after the National Electoral Commission (NEC) Ethics Committee suspended his presidential campaigns for seven days for allegedly contravening election rules.
This is following complaints filed by two political parties, President John Pombe Magufuli’s Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) and NRA.
The parties had accused the Chadema aspirant of having uttered seditious statements during one of his rallies.
According to the complainants, Lissu during his campaigns in Mara claimed that President Magufuli had convened a meeting with district executive directors to discuss rigging October’s election.
In a statement on Friday, NEC’s Ethics Committee Secretary Emmanuel Kavishe said the committee was satisfied that Lissu’s comments went against election rules hence a move to take disciplinary action against him.
Kavishe said the presidential aspirant failed to provide evidence to substantiate his claims.
“The NEC ethics committee is satisfied that information on the violation of ethics submitted against Tundu Lissu is according to the procedure taking into consideration article 39 of the 1977 constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania where Lissu was sponsored by his party to be the Presidential Candidate, therefore, the letter of complaint delivered to NEC was correct,” he said.
Reacting to the suspension of his rallies, Lissu stated that he was never served with any ethics charges nor afforded the opportunity to submit written defence to the charges.
“I never was summoned to the Ethics Committee to defend myself in person. Even the decision to suspend me has not been communicated to me as required by the Ethics Regulations, ” Lissu tweeted.
Accusing NEC of being compromised by the state, Lissu has vowed to continue with his scheduled Sunday campaigns.
“This orchestrated ‘rough justice’ is yet another proof of a discredited NEC and a compromised electoral system. The NEC’s decision is totally unacceptable. I’ll not be intimidated or silenced. The campaign will continue on Sunday as scheduled, ” he added.
Thread on NEC Suspension of my Campaigns👇🏾:-
Just received news of suspension of my presidential campaign for alleged ethics violations. I never was served with any ethics charges nor afforded the opportunity to submit written defence to the charges.#SasaBasi #TunduLissu2020 pic.twitter.com/R4vkL390fu
— Tundu Antiphas Lissu (@TunduALissu) October 2, 2020
Lissu was on Thursday summoned by police over the alleged remarks made during campaigns but said he will not honour the Friday summons as the police had not specified his offence.
The opposition leader, who is expected to give Magufuli a run for his money in the October 28 general elections, returned to Tanzania on July 27.
He had been living in Belgium and has undergone at least 20 surgeries after he survived an assassination attempt in September 2017.