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BY JOHN WERU,NAIROBI,5TH JAN,2018-Tanzanian opposition leader Tundu Lissu on Friday accused President John Magufuli of attempted political assassination.
Lissu, 49, was shot by unknown gunmen in in Dar es Salaam in September and was admitted at Nairobi Hospital.
“Since Magufuli came into power, I have been the greatest critic and that is why I was attacked,” he said on Friday.
“Tangu uhuru na kabla ya uhuru Tanzania, mtu hajawahi kuchukua silaha au bunduki kwa nia ya kuua kiongozi kwa sababu ya msimamo wake wa siasa (Since Tanzania’s independence, we have never heard of anyone taking arms to kill a leader because of his political stance).”
“I am not a businessman and I don’t fight in bars but since 2010 and even before that, I have been a critic of the Tanzanian government.”
Lissu who is Member of Parliament for Singida East spoke in a wheelchair saying that since the attack, Magufuli has not issued a statement to that effect and that his silence means a lot.
“Magufuli hajatoa taarifa yoyote hadharani. Serikali yake haijatoa taarifa rasmi juu ya shambulizi hili,(Magufuli has not issued any public statement. His administration has not spoken about the attack),” he said.
But after the attack, Magufuli’s ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party condemned “the cruel and inhumane act”.
The President tweeted that he was “shocked to hear of the attack on Tundu Lissu and I pray to God almighty that he will soon recover”.
Police said investigations into the attack were ongoing; they said they did not know what motivated it and that suspects were still at large.
Lissu narrated how the attackers trailed him from Parliament buildings to his home in Dodoma with the aim of killing him.
“A group of people took weapons used for war and followed me all the way from Parliament during the day with the aim of killing me,” he said.
“Haya yametokea kwa mara ya kwanza. Walipokuja kwa gari, walichukuwa silaha zao na kwa dakika chache wale watu walipiga risasi 39 kwa gari langu (It was the first time this happened….they fired 39 shots at my car).”
The Sigadari MP said 16 of the bullets hit him, that most of them tore through his body and that he was left half dead.
“Nyingi zilipita zikagonga viungo. Nane zilibaki kwa mwili wangu nikapelekwa Dodoma kutibiwa mara ya kwanza. Hapo ndipo wakanileta huku Nairobi ambapo walitoa risasi saba (Eight bullets were lodged in my body by the time I was rushed to Dodoma. Seven bullets were removed at the Nairobi hospital)” he said.
Lissu said one bullet is still lodged in his body as doctors told him it would be more risky to remove it.
He faulted police saying they were not around his house to protect him on the day of the attack, hence his suspicion of foul play.
“Nyumba ninayoishi ni ya serikali na inalindwa 24 hours. Lakini watu wenye silaha walinifuata getini na siku hiyo hakukuwa na walinzi kwa gate,” he said.
(I live in a government house which is under 24-hour police guard…it beats logic for armed men to follow me to my home…there were no guards at my gate)
“Hata polisi hawakuwa. Kuna CCTV lakini haijulikani mahali iko… Walinipiga risasi kisha wakaondoka (Even police were not there…we have CCTV but their location is…the attackers shot me and left).”
Lissu said since he was hospitalised, the Tanzanian government has not given any funds for his medication.
“I am still an MP. There are rules on medical bills. Parliament should pay for expenses whether one is within Tanzania or not. Today, Parliament has not given a shilling for my medical expenses,” he said. “We wrote a letter to them but they have been going round and round. The speaker has not even come to see me. It is sad.”
He accused the government of not having a plan B after the one to kill him failed.
“Waliopanga haya hawakuwa na plan B. Kama kulikuwa na plan B…hiyo plan B iko wapi…for four months?. This assassination has failed. Mungu wangu alikuwa macho kweli kweli (Those who planned this failed attack did not have a plan B…My God was truly watching over me),” he said.
Lissu claimed that since Magufuli became President, he has been arrested eight times.
“We have upgraded from arrests to assassinations. It’s time for the international community to rise up,” he said.
“Kuliko nini Tanzania? Mbona mnapiga wanasiasa bunduki. Mbona mnapoteza waandishi wa habari (What is happening in Tanzania? Why are they shooting politicians and causing journalists to disappear?)”
Magufuli further said no investigations have been done on the assassination plot
“We have not been interviewed. Hakuna hata mmoja ambaye amekuja kuniuliza ‘ebu eleza vile ulivyoshambuliwa’. Jeshi la polisi halijakuja huku. It was planned ili niwache kusumbua wakubwa wa Tanzania,”he added.
(No one has come to investigate what happened. Police have not come here…The attack was planned so that I stop troubling the who-is-who in Tanzania)
“This is the time to denounce this government. [It should be denounced] whenever the opportunity arises.”