Self-exiled Tanzanian opposition leader Tundu Lissu has finally returned to the country after repeated cancellations of his homecoming.
Lissu, a leader of the opposition Chadema party, arrived aboard an Ethiopian Airlines flight which landed at the Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam Wednesday afternoon amid tight police security.
He was welcomed at the airport by his supporters and party members led by top officials Peter Msigwa and Ezekiel Wenje.
He ended a nearly five-year stint in exile in in Belgium.
“I am returning home where the (political) environment has changed (for the better),” Lissu said.
He promised to “get back to work” right from the start.
He was scheduled to speak at a public rally to be held in the most populous Dar es Salaam organised by his Chadema party to mark his return later Wednesday afternoon.
Maria Tsehai, a civic liberties’ activist, said a public debate has ensued as to how far Lissu’s return will change the political landscape of the country.
Analysts say his presence and outspokenness will provide a balance in the political arena which pits the ruling party CCM and the 19 parties in the opposition.
Meeting with Samia
A lawyer-turned-politician, Lissu had a meeting with President Samia Suluhu Hassan early last year in Brussels, Belgium which laid the ground for his return.
He was at loggerheads with Samia’s predecessor, the late president John Pombe Magufuli, whom he criticised openly.
in September 2017 in Dodoma, Lissu was shot 16 times by unknown attackers after a parliamentary session break.
He was taken to a local hospital before he was flown to Nairobi, Kenya for further treatment at the Aga Khan Hospital.
Early 2018, he flew to the Belgian capital for medical operations where he decided to stay together with his family.
Lissu was MP for Singida East under Chadema but quit after he went into exile in Belgiuma.
He is currently the deputy chairperson of his party and its chief legal officer.
He has stated that his top priority now is tocampaign for a new constitution.