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Tanzania’s opposition leader says he will end exile after ban on rallies lifted – SABC News

Tanzanian opposition leader and former presidential candidate Tundu Lisu said he will return home this month from exile in Europe after the government lifted a ban on political rallies.

President Samia Suluhu Hassan lifted a six-and-a-half-year ban on political rallies last week, part of her reconciliation strategy after assuming office in March 2021 following the death of her predecessor John Magufuli.

“With the lifting of the illegal ban on political activity, it is now time to return home and return to work,” Lisu wrote late Friday on Twitter, saying he would arrive on January 25.

The ban imposed by Magufuli in 2016 allowed elected politicians to hold rallies in their constituencies but banned other political rallies and protests.

Lisu, a former lawmaker, initially left the country to seek treatment abroad after he was shot 16 times, mostly in the lower abdomen, in an attack by unknown gunmen in the administrative capital of Dodoma in September 2017.

He was arrested eight times in the year leading up to the attack.

He returned for a few months in 2020 to challenge Magufuli in a presidential election.

Lissou received 13% of the vote, but his CHADEMA party rejected the result due to allegations of widespread irregularities.

He fled to the German ambassador’s residence in Tanzania soon after the election when he received death threats, before once again leaving the country in exile.

Hassan, who also lifted the ban on four newspapers, met Lisu during a visit to Brussels last year.

The political opposition and civil rights groups criticized Magufuli’s ban on rallies, which led to frequent arrests of political figures and clashes between opposition supporters and the police.

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