Tanzania opposition chief to launch book indicting EA Parliaments

Friday, June 25th, 2021 17:46 | By
Tundu Lissu. Photo/Courtesy

Exiled Tanzanian opposition chief Tundu Lissu arrived in the country on Wednesday evening ahead of the launch of his book that indicts parliamentary democracy in East Africa.

Lissu, the vice chairman of Chadema party and a presidential candidate in Tanzania's last year general election, is this afternoon expected to launch the book titled: Remaining in the shadows; Parliament and Accountability in East Africa” at Windsor golf club.

The event will be presided over by former chief justice Willy Mutunga with panelists invited to discuss perspectives on parliamentary democracy in the three East African countries.

In the book, Lissu criticises parliaments in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania for having allowed themselves to be emasculated by the executive, a move that he says has been the major stumbling block to the growth of democracy in the region.

“With the tenuous exception of Kenya, they remain in the shadow of the imperial preseidency.

And as long as that remains the case, democracy , accountability, rule of law and all of the attributes of liberal democratic order remain imperilled,” Lissu declares.

The Tanzanian vocal opposition chief indicts parliamentary democracy in the region, casting aspersions on their capacity to oversight the excesses of the executive bearing in mind that MPs are “a by-product” of the presidency from the time they develop interests in politics to the time they are elected to parliament.

To redeem the lost democratic space in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, Lissu advocates for a return to the ideals of the independent constitutions of the three states.

“That brief period was characterised by powerful parliaments, accountable governments and peaceful, free and fair elections,” he observes.

As a man who grew up during the period that democracy seemed to thrive within the region, Lissu nostalgically states: “it was, as a Uganda Constitutional Commission would later describe it, the era of good feeling because a liberal democratic constitutional order appeared to be working.”

Lissu's lawyer, Prof George Wajackoyah says the book is a ringing indictment pf the presidential system of government in existence in the three countries for nearly six decades.

“This is a new era to revolutionise the democratic process from the colonial hegemony and ushering in a new concept of African leadership detached from western influence,” Prof Wajackoyah told the People Daily yesterday .

Lissu fled to Belgium through Kenya last October, almost a week after a failed nationwide protest to reject a presidential election that was marred by widespread irregularities.

He had first sought refuge at the German ambassador’s residence in Tanzania for a week, citing threats to his life, before he was sneaked into Kenya by his lawyer.

Yesterday, Wajackoyah disclosed that Lissu would fly back to Belgium after the launch of the book and is not ready to take up the olive branch offered to him by the new president Samia Suluhu Hassan.

“His life is still in danger because things have not changed much in Tanzania.

In any case, he is more safe in Belgium where he is enjoying all the privileges of being a refugee under the international law,” Prof Wajackoyah.

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