Tanzania: Uncertainty Hangs Over Lissu Grilling By Electoral Body

Dar es Salaam — Chadema presidential candidate Tundu Lissu yesterday had a rough start of the week after his convoy was teargassed by police in Nyamongo, Tarime Rural constituency when travelling to Mugumu in Serengeti District for a campaign rally. The incident came even as it was not resolved whether the politician would attend the National Electoral Commission (NEC) ethics committee hearing where he was supposed to defend himself against allegations levelled at him.

Video clips on social media showed Mr Lissu arguing with police who attempted to block his motorcade. The presidential candidate told the police to report any complaints against him to the electoral body's ethics committee instead of teargassing innocent citizens. Furious members of the public also protested at the police action.

Tarime/Rorya Special Zone Police Commander William Mkondya attributed the incident to alleged residents' provocation of law enforcers, but local leaders refuted the accusations.

During a rally held in Mugumu, Mr Lissu told residents he would not travel to Dar es Salaam or attend a meeting of the ethics committee of the electoral body because he has not received any formal communication.

"Election ethics demand that complaints submitted by any candidate, the electoral body, the government or a political party should be communicated in writing to the respondent," he said. "I can't go and I will not go to Dodoma tomorrow (today). NEC's statement is merely an online statement like any other wired proclamations. Therefore, my assurance to you is that there is no problem."

He said the electoral body was supposed to write a letter and hand it over to him personally and not to his party, his home or anywhere else because he was the respondent.

Mr Lissu was responding to an announcement by NEC director of Elections, Dr Wilson Charles, that Mr Lissu should appear before the ethics committee today to explain himself and provide evidence of claims he made in Musoma.

It was in regards to claims that President Magufuli had summoned district executive directors who are also returning officers to a meeting in Dodoma.

According to Dr Charles, the opposition presidential candidate also accused the electoral body and other people in the government and the ruling party of plotting to steal votes casted for the opposition.

However, yesterday, Chadema's secretary general John Mnyika denied to have received a letter from NEC summoning the party's presidential candidate.

Instead, he challenged the electoral body to respond to complaints filed against President Magufuli and local government minister Selemani Jafo over breach of election rules.

Speaking in Mugumu yesterday, party's parliamentarian candidate for Serengeti, Ms Catherine Ruge asked Mr Lissu to prioritize construction of international airport in the area to boost tourism, improved road networks and provide water from Lake Victoria.

Ms Alicia Magabe, who is Mr Lissu's wife promised to remind his husband the need to uphold protection of human rights after October 28, saying she was disappointing learn that people were killed for fetching water or collecting firewood in the parks

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