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Tanzania’s Police Boss Dismisses Lissu’s Assassination Claims, Tells Him To Return Home

Tanzania's Inspector General of Police Simon Sirro [Photo/Courtesy]

Tanzania’s Inspector General of Police Simon Sirro has dismissed assassination claims by opposition leaders.

Speaking to members of the press on Thursday, Sirro stated that police have no such information.

Sirro said he personally wrote a letter to the Chadema party after its leader Tundu Lissu sought refuge at German embassy over claims that there was a plot to eliminate him for rejecting the outcome of the October 28 poll.

Lissu lost to President John Pombe Magufuli in the election marred by claims of arrests, restricted access to polling stations, multiple voting, pre-ticking of ballots and widespread blocking of social media.

Sirro said that the opposition leader, who fled to Belgium on November 10, never recorded a statement with the police over the matter.

In a recent interview with BBC, Lissu said he took the threats seriously after he survived an assassination attempt in 2017.

But Sirro has insisted that despite reported cases of unrest in Zanzibar and Kinondoni there is peace in Tanzania further calling on Lissu and Godbless Lema to return home promising to give them security.

Read: UN Rights Chief Alarmed Over Intimidation, Harassment Of Opposition Leaders In Tanzania

Lema, who lost his bid to retain his seat for Arusha Urban Constituency for a third term, fled to Kenya on November 8, 2020, to seek asylum.

The Chadema official claimed that his travel to Kenya was occasioned by death threats and being trailed by unmarked cars in Arusha.

Opposition leaders had planned demonstrations in Tanzania to protest the outcome of the poll but were stopped by police with many being arrested.

In his statement on Thursday, Sirro accused the opposition of an attempt to cause chaos in the country after Magufuli and other Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) leaders were declared winners in both Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar.

Read Also: Respect the Rule of Law, US Tells Tanzania Amid Claims of Rigged Elections

He said police recovered 11 man-made explosives that some youth had planned to use to destroy Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) offices.

The officer dismissed claims by rights groups that at least 10 people were killed by police in Zanzibar on October 26. He said police are only aware of two cases.

Sirro’s remarks come slightly over a week after United Nations High Commissioner Human Rights Michelle Bachelet raised concerns over arrest and intimidation of opposition leaders in the country.

In a statement on November 10, Bachelet called on Tanzania authorities to ensure people are able to express their grievances without fear of reprisals.

Read Also: Tanzania President John Magufuli Sworn-in For A Second Term After Troubled Poll

“The tense situation in the country will not be defused by silencing those who challenge the outcome of the elections, but rather through a participatory dialogue,” said Bachelet.

“I urge the Tanzanian authorities to respect and facilitate exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and of peaceful assembly.”

She called on the Magufuli-led government to release opposition leaders and members still in custody and ensure that security forces and law enforcement officials act according to the rule of law and human rights norms and standards.

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Written by Wycliffe Nyamasege


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