15 September 2017

Tanzania: Lissu's State Critical but Stable - Mbowe

Photo: The Citizen
Medics and well-wishers take a hospital stretcher carrying Tundu LIssu aboard an ambulance plane that was used to transport him to Nairobi for further treatment.

Nairobi — Chadema Party has denied reports in a section of Tanzanian media that fiery Tanzanian opposition Chief Whip and Singida MP Tundu Lissu's condition has worsened after developing a chest infection while admitted in the Nairobi Hospital.

Mr Lissu was flown to the Nairobi Hospital after being briefly admitted in Dodoma Hospital following a gun attack on Thursday last week that left him fighting for his life.

Journalists have not been allowed to see or speak to the leader, who was reportedly struck by between 21 to 25 bullets during the machine gun attack outside his Dodoma home.

Party leader Freeman Mbowe has been addressing the media on his condition since the incident.

Mr Mbowe today rubbished the reports suggesting that the legislator who is admitted at the Nairobi Hospital had developed a life-threatening chest complication.

"Any media reports claiming that Mr Lissu's condition has worsened after developing a chest complication are false and baseless. As far as we who are with him in the hospital are concerned, he is in critical but stable condition, and generally on the road to recovery," said Mr Mbowe. He said the leader's condition has been fluctuating from day to day, but hastened assured the public that Mr Lissu was on the path to recovery

He told the media the politician was now able to speak, eat some food, and even receive a number of visitors under strict supervision by the team of doctors who are overseeing his treatment.

"Mr Lissu is currently able to speak and has even been receiving a number of visitors, though under strict supervision by the medical team that is overseeing his treatment. Despite the large number of visitors wishing to see him, he is only allowed to see a limited number of visitors since doctors would like him to have as much bed rest as possible for optimum chances of recovery," said Mr Mbowe.

He asked the public and media to avoid panicking regarding the opposition leaders' condition, adding that the party leadership was the only body mandated to issue official statements about his status.

The Chadema party boss said Mr Lissu had sent greetings to well-wishers, his fellow parliamentarians and also asked the people not to allow dictatorial regimes to exist in Africa."Mr Lissu has sent his greetings to the people of East Africa, his fellow parliamentarians and well-wishers. He has asked them not to allow dictatorial regimes to control the affairs and destiny of nations in Africa since they have made the continent lag behind in development and democracy, Mr Mbowe said.

He said the leader had insisted on the continuation of the struggle for wider democratic space, freedom and inclusively, saying it should be the norm

He appealed to the Tanzanian government to allow international investigators to conduct what he termed "an independent and credible investigation" into the shooting attack that left Mr Lissu injured.

Mr Mbowe alleged the opposition could not expect justice if the investigation was left in the hands of state security agencies, saying the police could not be trusted to uncover the truth behind the incident.

"Based on the history behind the government's difficult relationship with the opposition, we are not convinced that the government can be relied upon to get to the bottom of the matter and reveal the truth behind the attack on Mr Lissu. We do not think the government will be neutral in handling this matter," said the party chief.

Among other instances of alleged government harassment, Mr Mbowe listed the disappearance of his personal assistant, the arrest and arraignment of several parliamentarians in court on "strange charges".

"My personal assistant has disappeared for more than a year without any word from the police on his whereabouts, with other parliamentarians and supporters being tortured and arrested on strange charges. In order for the issue to be resolved in a credible manner that will not raise any doubts regarding the government's claim on not being involved, we demand an investigation by international forensic experts and investigators," he said.

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