Tanzanian opposition leader Tundu Mughwai Lissu, who is presently in exile in Belgium, now says he’s ready to return ‘home’ amid news of the death of President John Pombe Magufuli.
Mr. Lissu, however, said his return will depend on the country’s and the next government’s readiness to account for what he termed as “evils” overseen by the late Magufuli government.
According to the politician and former presidential candidate, the country can only move forward in the presence of reconciliation borne out of truth first.
He urged Tanzania’s Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan, who is set to take over as President for the remainder of the term in line with the Tanzanian constitution, to oversee the reconciliation process and stretch her hand out to all opposition politicians both in exile and in prison.
A new chapter for Tanzania
“This is the time to open a new chapter for our country. This is an opportunity for national reconciliation which had been made impossible…I’ll go back to Tanzania, but my going is part of what I’m calling for….my return, and the return of many others who are in exile even in Kenya…it is time for Tanzanians to sit together to account for all the evils of these past 5 years because you cannot have reconciliation without truth,” Lissu told KTN News.
He also added that he and his colleagues will write to the government setting their way forward.
“Our position is that we cannot afford to continue with Magufulism without Magufuli, meaning that the country must change. We must extend a hand to all those who were persecuted and had to flee the country like myself, we have to free political prisoners, we must stop these human rights abuses, we must free our media,” he said.
He further pledged to continue fighting for a better Tanzania which, he said, will be more democratic and respects human rights, the rule of law, as well as justice.
VC Suluhu is different from Magufuli
While revealing that he previously served with Vice President Suluhu in the National Assembly, he noted that her style of leadership is generally different from that of the late Magufuli considered to be authoritative.
He hence warned her against continuing with policies driven by the deceased Head of State and her former boss, adding that this would only take the country backwards.
“I know Suluhu enough to suggest that temperamentally she’s a completely different ball game from Magufuli. The rational choice that is available for her is to chart a new course for the country; to extend a hand to those of us who were victimised by Magufuli to bring the nation together.
She will need to do a lot of work in order to repair the damage done by President Magufuli, internally as well as in our relations with other nations,” said Lissu.
The Chadema politician further cast doubts on the date and cause of Magufuli’s death as announced by the State, alleging that he had contrary information pointing to the passing away of the head of state.