Tanzania’s opposition presidential candidate Tundu Lissu was yesterday restrained after he was blocked from venturing out of Dar es Salaam by police.
Lissu, who is the Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema) presidential candidate, was to travel to Morogoro where he was scheduled to carry out some party activities.
Tanzania’s electoral commission’s ethics tribunal had last Friday banned him from campaigning for seven days after it found him guilty of breaching some regulations.
Yesterday, Lissu said Chadema had scheduled some activities for its vice chairman as he awaits the expiry of the ban.
The party had indicated that their candidate would engage in other societal duties aimed at strengthening it as he awaits the lapse of the ban on October 9.
“My party made a schedule of activities like visiting branches and meeting leaders outside campaign rallies. However, the police now say I cannot travel out of Dar es Salaam,” he said.
He was on his way to Morogoro when he was blocked just a few kilometers out of Dar es Salaam at Kibaha.
“As I speak to you, I have been detained here for the last two hours. The police, who are heavily armed, say they are under instruction to ensure I do not go. I am going to camp here because to the best of my knowledge, I am not under house arrest,” he said.
While he was being shackled by the police, he said he witnessed about four convoys of President John Magufuli’s Chama Cha Mageuzi (CCM).
Terming the detention one of many autocratic methods of obstructing democratic elections, Lissu warned CCM that unless they leveled the playground, the outcome of the October 28 elections would be illegitimate.
“We will not accept results of an election that is heavily biased towards Magufuli. If the results do not reflect the will of the 29 million voters, we will reject them and resort to democratic mass action,” he said.
Lissu added that he would demand justice from the streets if they are rigged out. “We cannot go to court. I have a lot of experience in election petitions,” he said.
Chadema has warned that unless all its poll agents are accredited by the electoral body and granted access to all the polling stations and tallying centres, they will not accept the results.
The party further insists that it will carry out comparative analysis and if the election results differ with theirs, they will disregard the outcome.
Asked whether Chadema would establish parallel tallying centres, Lissu said it was against the law and that some opposition parliamentary candidates had been attacked and their units dismantled.
He claimed State machinery had been deployed to make it impossible for his party to campaign. In a number of constituencies, he said, parliamentary candidates had been arraigned on tramped up charges.
“So far two parliamentary candidates have been charged with murder in Jombe Mjini. Eight civic candidates are among 25 people charged with murder in Tunduma near the border with Zambia,” he said.
The Chadema flagbearer said Magufuli had sensed defeat and was now using police to intimidate the opposition.
“We will not be cowed. I am not going home. I will remain here by the roadside. If they want to shoot me, let them do it. We will not be intimidated,” he said.
On whether the opposition would field a joint presidential candidate, Lissu said it was not possible to craft pre-election coalitions in Tanzania owing to some demands by the government.
“We are not stupid to reveal our soul to our enemy. The government demands that we reveal our secrets and reserve the right to okay or reject various political formations. That is why we have opted to have an understanding with Alliance for Change and Transparency (ACT),” he said.
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