Tanzanian opposition leader Tundu Lissu was on Monday arrested just hours after several opposition leaders were taken into custody over a call for mass protests following the disputed October 28 General Election.
Lissu’s party Chadema has confirmed that the opposition leader has been freed after being interrogated by police for more than two hours.
— CHADEMA Tanzania (@ChademaTz) November 2, 2020
Kahawa Tungu understands that Lissu was arrested as he sought protection from foreign missions in Tanzania and was freed after German ambassador drove to the police station where he was being held.
That Tundu Lissu was arrested in front of Umoja House, where the EU, UK, German and Dutch missions are located is outrageous. This is well beyond the pale. For hours, he had sought protection, knowing that this was coming. The world better stand up now to the thugs in #Tanzania. https://t.co/hpYPcD8ARq
— Jeffrey Smith (@Smith_JeffreyT) November 2, 2020
Tanzanian police had earlier confirmed that Lissu was arrested in connection with the banned protests.
“We have just arrested him in Dar es Salaam when he was disembarking from the European Union offices,” regional police Commander Lazaro Mambosasa said of Lissu on Monday. “It’s in connection with the banned protest,” he was quoted as saying by AFP news agency.
Earlier, the police arrested Chadema national chairman Freeman Mbowe and several other leaders over the protests that were planned to begin today.
The opposition leaders had been warned against going on with the demonstrations after their declaration on Saturday.
The leaders accuse President-elect John Pombe Magufuli’s party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) of having rigged the poll using state machinery.
NEC Chairman Semistocles Kaijage declared Magufuli the winner of this year’s presidential election for a second term on Friday with 12.5 million votes (84%) amid strong opposition from his main challenger Tundu Lissu who came in second with 1.9 million votes (13%).
The poll was marred by claims of arrests, restricted access to polling stations, multiple voting, pre-ticking of ballots and widespread blocking of social media.
In a joint press statement on Saturday, Chadema and ACT Wazalendo parties called for a fresh election and disbandment of the electoral commission
“In our unity, we believe that what happened on October 28, 2020, has no merit or legitimacy to be called a general election, but it is the usurpation and looting of Tanzanians’ right to elect their leaders through democratic means …,” said Mbowe.
“We demand the disbanding of the National Election Commission (NEC) and Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) and the creation of independent electoral commissions to oversee a repeat of the general election.”
Magufuli will take oath of office on Thursday, November 5, 2020, at Jamhuri Stadium in Dodoma.
Yesterday, the president-elect called on Tanzanians to go back to work saying the election is over.
“Sasa uchaguzi umekwisha kilichobaki ni kuchapa kazi (the election is now over let us build our country), ” he said.