Tundu Lissu, a prominent member of Tanzania’s opposition and a former presidential candidate, was freed on bail hours after being detained by police on suspicion of having an unauthorized meeting.
According to a statement from Lissu’s party, Tanzania’s main opposition party, CHADEMA, on the X social network, Lissu, who is also the vice chairman of the party, was arrested from a hotel on Sunday along with other party officials in northern Tanzania’s Arusha area before being released that evening,
Lissu, who had been living in Belgium ever since he left the country in 2020 after John Magufuli won the presidential election, returned from exile after President Samia Suluhu Hassan abolished a six-year prohibition on political gatherings.
Since his return from exile in January, Lissu has held political rallies all throughout the nation to denounce Hassan’s administration’s handling of a contentious ports management agreement and its record on human rights.
In June 2016, Magufuli forbade elected politicians from organizing rallies outside of their districts in. Rallies, according to the former president, were a waste of time and a distraction from progress because the election season was finished.
As the police rejected pleas from the opposition to hold demonstrations, this quickly transformed into a general prohibition on political meetings. Even internal party meetings have occasionally been disturbed, with leaders and their supporters being harassed and detained.
However, Magufuli continued to attend rallies and travel the whole nation by road with his entourage, stopping frequently to address the populace and make impromptu judgments.
His successor, Hassan, has taken steps toward amicable relations with the opposition, including removing the ban. She was criticized for maintaining some of her predecessor’s harsh measures, such as Freeman Mbowe’s seven-month detention on “terrorism financing” accusations.
Lissu and three other individuals were reportedly arrested by police on Sunday for interrogation in connection with claims that they were conducting an unauthorized gathering and impeding the performance of police duties.
Lissu and other party members were seen in a brief video uploaded on X flashing the CHADEMA-standard V-for-victory hand gesture.