Tanzanian opposition lawmaker Tundu Lissu, a fierce critic of President John Magufuli’s government, was seriously wounded in a gun attack on Thursday, police and party officials said.
“Lissu has suffered multiple gunshot wounds and is being treated at the main public hospital in Dodoma”, Tumaini Makene, spokesman for the main opposition CHADEMA party, said.
Lissu, who is also Chadema’s chief legal counsel, was shot in stomach and leg, Dodoma Chief Regional Medical Officer James Charles said.
In a statement, Magufuli’s ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party also condemned “this cruel and inhuman act” and Magufuli tweeted that he was “shocked to hear the news of the attack on Tundu Lissu and I pray to god almighty that he will soon recover”.
The motive of the shooting is unclear.
Police said they did not know what had motivated the attack and the suspects were still at large.
“We are asking fellow citizens with information to help us”, he said, adding that initial enquiries were focusing on a auto believed to had followed Lissu to his home.
Magufuli has faced growing accusations by rights groups and others of being intolerant of criticism since he was elected in 2015.
“This cowardly attack on one of Tanzania’s most fearless and prominent politicians raises concerns about the safety of all dissident voices in the country, at a time when space for dissent is quickly shrinking”.
“This heinous crime must not be swept under the carpet”.
According to Law Society of Kenya (LSK) president Isaac Okero, Lissu arrived in Nairobi from Dodoma Thursday night.
The Singida East MP was arrested on July but later released after he called the Tanzanian president a “dictator”.