Tanzania’s opposition leader and presidential candidate Tundu Lissu has left the country for Belgium.
After seeking protection in the German Embassy, Lissu has left for Brussels with the help of Western diplomats. Tundu is reported to have flee following “increased threats against his life” after he challenged John Magufuli for the presidency.
He lost his country’s October presidential polls to incumbent John Magufuli in what he says was a rigged election with voter intimidation and corruption.
Lissu had sought asylum in the German Embassy in Dar es Salaam, fearing for his life, and had been there since Saturday.
Moments before his flight departed for Brussels on Tuesday, Lissu said for a week, diplomats from Germany, Belgium, the United States and other countries have negotiated with the Tanzanian government to allow him to leave the country safely and it is their efforts that allowed him to leave.
Lissu, who has lived with severe injuries since surviving a 2017 assassination attempt, said: “The threats against me kept increasing after the Tanzanian presidential election and I decided to leave the country.”
Asked if he sees himself as an asylum seeker, Lissu told reporters; “I am leaving my country as a free citizen. I am not a refugee. I have not asked any country for asylum. I am going to Belgium because — as you may know — after living there for three years during my therapy, I attained legal resident status. I am not going to Belgium as a refugee, but rather returning as a resident.”