Tundu Lissu, a principal political rival to Tanzanian president John Magufuli, flew home after spending nearly three years in Belgium receiving medical treatment for gunshot wounds he had sustained in September 2017. Lissu, who was an opposition member of parliament at the time, was hit by five bullets out of about thirty-two shots aimed at his car as he was returning home from a parliamentary session.
Welcomed by a few hundred of his supporters as he alighted from the aircraft, Lissu intimated he would be challenging Magufuli in the presidential election set to be held on October 28.
Observers are worried the country is backsliding into authoritarianism
The attack against Lissu was one of the most egregious examples of political intimidation and harassment against opposition figures under President Magufuli’s administration, a trend that has observers worried the country is backsliding into authoritarianism.
The top opposition parties are considering joining forces behind one candidate to stand against Magufuli, who will be seeking a second five-year term.