Tanzania’s Tundu Lissu: ‘I’m a child of Nyerere’s socialism’

By Patrick Smith
Posted on Thursday, 24 December 2020 11:34, updated on Monday, 22 March 2021 10:49

Tundu Lissu smiles as he shows his finger marked with ink after casting his vote at Ntewa Primary School polling station in Ikungi town, Tanzania on 28. October 2020. (AP Photo, File)

Multiple death threats, arrests by security officers brandishing pistols, and a late-night race to the airport with a diplomatic escort – opposition leader Tundu Lissu’s experience of Tanzania’s general elections on 28 October differed a tad from the verdict of the East African Community’s observer mission.

It concluded that all political parties were able to campaign freely and ‘the election process was conducted in a credible manner’.

Now staying in the Flemish hinter­land of Belgium, Lissu agreed to have a virtual coffee with The Africa Report. A considered yet battle-­hardened campaigner, Lissu is a difficult politician for journalists. Where is the Achilles’ heel? You might conclude that Lissu’s flaw is that he is too much of a gentleman for the blood sport of 21st-century politics.