A Tanzanian court has dismissed a government request to arrest Tundu Lissu, one of the country’s fiercest critic of President John Magufuli.
Lissu, the opposition chief whip in Tanzania parliament, has been away from the country for treatment following what he calls an assassination attempt in September 2017.
The court had on February 4, 2019 summoned guarantors of Lissu to reveal his whereabouts because it had not received an official report.
The guarantors, Ibrahim Ahmed and Robert Katula, appeared before Magistrate Thomas Simba at Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court where they revealed the politician is still receiving treatment in Belgium.
Lissu and three others — Simon Mkina, Jabir Idrisa and Ismail Mehbooh — are accused of writing and publishing inciting information on Mawio newspaper between January 12 and 14 of 2016.
The article that landed the Singida MP and his co-accused in trouble is titled, Machafuko yaja Zanzibar (Chaos Imminent in Zanzibar).
State lawyer Wankyo Simon asked the court to issue an arrest warrant against the MP, accusing the opposition politician of travelling around the world holding interviews with international news agencies.
“The court can’t issue an arrest warrant for now, but it is important that his guarantors report to the court whenever the case comes up for hearing,” the magistrate said.
The four were charged with five counts of sedition, including conspiracy to publish seditious publication, publishing and printing a seditious publication and printing a newspaper without submission of an affidavit.
Lissu is preparing to return to Tanzania after his long absence and is expected to launch a campaign to challenge President Magufuli’s re-election next year.