Tanzania’s opposition chief and former presidential candidate Tundu Lissu on Tuesday, November 10, fled the country in a huff with the help of German embassy after losing bid to unseat President John Pombe Magufuli in the October 28 General Election.
Lissu had sought refuge at the embassy claiming his life was in danger without going into details.
The Chadema party leader arrived in Belgium, Europe, on Wednesday morning and later had an interview with BBC explaining why he fled Tanzania amid an alleged crackdown on opposition leaders.
Lissu told the British-owned TV that death threats forced him to flee his motherland.
He narrated that the government withdrew his security after the October poll and thereafter received a call from unknown people who threatened to take his life.
“I was called by people who said that an order for them to deal with me once and for all – as they put it – was out and therefore they advised me to run for my dear life, and that’s what I did,” he said.
According to the former Singida Member of Parliament, he took the threats seriously after he survived an assassination attempt in 2017.
“They did not identify themselves but clearly they made me understand that they were from the intelligence and security apparatus,” he added.
The critic of President Magufuli was on September 7, 2017, attacked by unknown assailants and shot 16 times. He believes the attack was politically motivated.
Lissu was flown to Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi for treatment and later Belgium for specialised medical care.
He returned to Tanzania in July after spending about three years in Belgium. He thereafter launched his presidential campaigns.
He, however, rejected the outcome of the October poll that was marred by claims of arrests, restricted access to polling stations, multiple voting, pre-ticking of ballots and widespread blocking of social media.
Magufuli was declared the winner of the poll with 12.5 million votes, Lissu came in a distant second with 1.9 million votes.
Only two opposition lawmakers were elected with the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party bagging all the other seats.
Some opposition leaders including Lissu were arrested after threatening to stage demonstrations to compel the government to disband the National Electoral Commission (NEC) to pave way for fresh elections.
Chadema politician Godbless Lema fled to Kenya over the weekend citing persecution of opposition figures in Tanzania and is in the process of applying for asylum.
Another opposition politician and former Member of Parliament for Singida North Constituency Lazaro Nyalandu was barred from leaving the country.
The former presidential candidate was blocked at Namanga border while en route to Kenya to seek asylum.
Lissu has vowed to fight for democracy from exile.