The last time veteran opposition leader Tundu Lissu left Tanzania, he was unconscious, aboard a medical flight to Nairobi. Unidentified gunmen had fired 16 bullets into his body outside his residence in the capital, Dodoma, in September 2017. He spent nearly three years in exile, first in Kenya, and then in Belgium, undergoing some 20 surgeries.
Lissu returned to his homeland last month, greeted at the airport by cheering crowds of supporters waving green palm fronds. “I was overwhelmed by the reception I received,” he told World Politics Review in an interview. “It was absolutely thrilling and humbling at the same time.”
In an interview with AFP just before he returned to Tanzania, Lissu said he was “going back home to try and fight for the presidency.” A former parliamentarian and human rights lawyer, Lissu is now vice chair of CHADEMA, the main opposition party, and has secured its nomination to run against President John Magufuli in the upcoming national election, in October. But the road ahead is dangerous.