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It Is the Same Old Tundu Lissu As Ever

On Wednesday, Lissu proved wrong people who might have thought that the politician has changed in the way he talks about those in power.

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Dar es Salaam. People who might have thought that Tundu Lissu has changed regarding how he talks about those in positions of power were proved wrong on Wednesday when the politician took to task the Samia Suluhu Hassan Administration in a tone that people know him for.

The CHADEMA deputy national chairperson (Tanzania Mainland) was speaking during his reception rally in Temeke, Dar es Salaam where thousands of people welcomed him back to the country as he’s ending his six-year life in exile.

Mr Lissu arrived in Tanzania around 12:40 PM on Wednesday from Belgium via Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He was received by his supporters at the Julius Nyerere International Airport before leading a procession to Temeke grounds where his welcoming rally took place.

READ MORE: Tundu Lissu’s Homecoming: A Timeline of Key Events

Lissu, who survived an assassination attempt in 2017, waved, greeted and briefly chatted with his supporters who had lined up the roads to see the 2020 CHADEMA presidential candidate who lost to the late John Magufuli.

At one moment during the procession, students at a nearby school stood at the school’s walls and waved to Mr Lissu, who once served as the president of the Tanganyika Law Society (TLS), making salutation signs of the opposition party CHADEMA.

In Temeke, Mr Lissu thanked his supporters for the reception they accorded him, saying he’s “extremely happy” to be back in “my country.”

“Living in exile, after being forced to do so, because you fear for your life, is the most difficult experience one can go through ever,” the firebrand politician started his 30-minute address. “These past six years have been extremely difficult not just for me but also for my family, the party and the country.”

READ MORE: What Does the Future Hold for TZ Democracy?

Mr Lissu spoke of what his supporters by the roadside told him during his procession, saying that all citizens’ complaints concern the high cost of living thanks to the skyrocketing prices of goods and services.

“How come the price of beans is the same as that of meat?” Mr Lissu said his supporters sought answers from him. “The price of almost everything is up and people are demanding that they should be lowered to allow them to live.”

He then related the people’s concerns with the ongoing demand for the New Constitution, noting that almost all of the people’s problems have their foundation in the current constitution that he called “outdated and poor.”

“It is the president who is causing us all these hardships,” Lissu explained. “This is not because [President] Samia is evil. No, it is because the constitution we have allows her to decide how to tax us and how to spend those taxes. And it is because of such presidential power, we have been having corrupt presidents [in Tanzania].”

READ MORE: ‘Katiba Mpya’ Process in Tanzania: Past, Present and Future

He said the problem of the high cost of living is a political problem, “a constitutional problem,” he called it.

“If you are fed up with the situation you’re going through right now, then the solution I can share with you is that we should find a political solution,” Mr Lissu told his supporters. “We should demand the New Constitution.”

Speaking during the rally, CHADEMA national chairperson Freeman Mbowe underlined Mr Lissu’s call for the New Constitution, calling Dar es Salaam the centre of the movement.

“The movement for political reforms in our country should start in Dar es Salaam,” Mr Mbowe said. “Dar es Salaam is the only city in Tanzania that has representatives from every ward of the country.”

READ MORE: Mbowe: New Constitution Now, No Ifs, Ands or Buts

However, Mr Mbowe said that that will never happen if the people of Dar es Salaam will not stand up and actively participated in the movement, urging Tanzanians to take some responsibility in defining the future of their country.

“Tanzanians are increasingly inactive when it comes to taking parts in movements to demand necessary reforms in the country,” Mr Mbowe complained. “They would wait for Mbowe or Lissu or that leader to speak. This will have to change if we want real changes.”

In his speech welcoming Mr Lissu to the podium to address rally-goers, CHADEMA secretary-general John Mnyika described Lissu as “a walking miracle.”

“There is a need for the government to establish a truth and reconciliation commission as an effort to amend the past mistakes and lay a foundation that would prevent Tanzania from returning to that black history,” Mr Mnyika suggested.

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