Tanzanian police have arrested opposition presidential candidate Tundu Lissu, hours after also detaining several other opposition figures over a call for mass protests against what government critics say were rigged elections.
The main opposition parties have rejected official results which saw President John Magufuli win a second term with 84 percent of the October 28 vote and his governing Chama Cha Mapinduzi party take 97 percent of seats in parliament. They had called for peaceful demonstrations on Monday as well as fresh elections.
“We have just arrested him in Dar es Salaam when he was disembarking from the European Union offices,” regional police Commander Lazaro Mambosasa said of Lissu on Monday. “It’s in connection with the banned protest,” he was quoted as saying by AFP news agency.
The main opposition party Chadema confirmed the arrest of its presidential candidate, who garnered an official 13 percent in last week’s polls. Lissu survived an assassination attempt in 2017 and returned from exile this year to join the presidential race.
Jeffrey Smith, of Vanguard Africa, a Washington-based, pro-democracy nonprofit organisation, said Lissu – who has partnered with them – told him on the phone earlier he had been seeking diplomatic protection for several hours without luck.