CHRI calls on Tanzanian Government to promptly investigate shooting of TLS President

New Delhi,

Sept 11, 2017

The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) expresses shock and condemns the shooting of Tundu Lissu, demands a swift, independent and transparent investigation of the event. An outspoken critic of the President Magufuli’s administration, a prominent member of the Parliamentary opposition and the President of Tanganyika Law Society (TLS), Mr. Lissu faced continuing harassment and intimidation in the run-up to his election as the TLS President in March 2017. Reacting to the looming victory of Mr. Lissu in the race for TLS Presidency, the Minister for Constitutional Affairs and Justice Dr.Harrison Mwakyembe threatened to deregister TLS, a fiercely independent bar association predating the Union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar and credited with spearheading democratisation efforts in the country in 1990s.

Following his election, he has been arbitrarily arrested and detained multiple times. In addition, Mr. Lissuis facing multiple trumped up sedition charges, following his public criticism of the country’s leadership.

CHRI reiterates President Magufuli’s call on Tanzania Police Force to immediately launch a prompt and impartial investigation into the assassination attempt. The first priority must be to track down the unidentified assailants.

The attempt on Mr. Lissu’s life comes in the wake of a string of efforts to silence prominent dissenting voices in the country. Detaining opposition parties’ members, issuing public threats of deregistering civil society organisations, and prosecuting independent activists is becoming a commonplace practice in Tanzania.

Sanjoy Hazarika, CHRI Director, emphasised that “the attempt on Tundu Lissu’s life is a shocking development, a tragic end of months of threats and intimidation. The hostile climate dissenters and opposition find themselves in must be tackled firmly to ensure that no critic of government should fear for their life”.

CHRI stands in solidarity with TLS and our thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Lissu's family.

For more information, please contact:
Uladzimir Dzenisevich
East Africa Police Reforms, CHRI

+91-11- 4318 0213,

Kavita Bajeli-Datt
Communications Officer, CHRI

+91-11- 4318 0201,