Tanzania’s opposition CHADEMA nominates firebrand Tundu Lissu to face Magufuli in October election

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Opposition's Tundu Lissu has been nominated to challenge Magufuli in the October election: Courtesy Photo

Tanzania’s opposition CHADEMA, has nominated Tundu Lissu to contest for presidency against the incumbent, John Pombe Magufuli in October elections.

Lissu (52) was nominated as the second largest party in Tanzania Presidential flagbearer during the governing council meeting that was held in Dar es Salaam Monday evening.

Lissu who was battling it out with Lazaro Nyalandu and Dr. Maryrose Majinge, garnered 405 votes out of the 442 votes cast. Lazaro Nyalandu comes second with 36 votes while Dr Majinge has managed to garner only one vote.

CHADEMA’s Lissu is set for a showdown against Magufuli who will be seeking to be re-elected for a second term using Chama cha Mapinduzi ticket. He however is expected to be officially endorsed as the party presidential candidate Tuesday during Chadema’s National Convention.

Speaking after the win, Lissu thanked the governing council for nominating him noting that his win was not an individual one, but that if the party.

“This is not my win, but that of the party, we have a huge task ahead of us, let us focus” said Lissu.

The nomination comes weeks after the opposition firebrand, Lissu returned to Tanzania from Beligium where he has lived since 2017 following a brutal attack that left him severely injured.

A fierce critic of President John Magufuli’s government, Lissu was shot 16 times in an attack by unknown gunmen outside his residence in the administrative capital Dodoma in September 2017.

At the time, Magufuli condemned the shooting and ordered the country’s security forces to investigate, but no one has been arrested.

Lissu was arrested eight times in the year leading up to his attack and charged with incitement, among other alleged offences. His most recent arrest was in August 2017. He was released and shot more than two weeks later.

He then fled to exile in Belgium where he had undergone treatment and returned to Tanzania mid last month.

CHADEMA chairman Freeman Mbowe dropped out of the presidential race after he and three other party members who initially said they would contest the presidency failed to pick and return nomination forms. Mbowe will seek to retain his current the parliamentary seat.

Magufuli, nicknamed “the Bulldozer”, for his ability to push through major projects, took office in November 2015 pledging to expand the East African nation’s infrastructure and fight graft.

However, international rights groups like Amnesty International have also accused him of curbing human rights including limiting free expression and cracking down on leading opposition figures. The Magufuli government has denied seeking to stifle dissent.

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