Responding to news that outspoken government critic Tanzanian parliamentarian Tundu Lissu has been shot and wounded by unidentified attackers in the capital Dodoma, Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, said:
“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. The Tanzanian authorities must immediately launch an effective and impartial investigation into the shooting and ensure that those responsible are held to account.
“The authorities must take steps to reassure Tanzanians and the world that this shooting was not politically motivated.”
Tundu Lissu, who also heads up the lawyer’s association, the Tanganyika Law Society, is a fierce and outspoken critic of President John Pombe Magufuli.
He was arrested in July for calling the president a dictator, and again in August for saying the Canadian government had detained a jet bought by the Tanzanian government over an unpaid $38m debt to a Canadian company. In total, he has been arrested six times this year.