Notably, the phone interview on the Royal Media Services (RMS) owned-station was his second appearance on Kenyan media in a matter of days, having answered various questions on KTN’s Bottomline Africa days earlier on Thursday, August 6.
While interviews of regional leaders on local media are nothing new, Lissu’s interview on Radio Citizen sparked an uproar from a section of Tanzanians who demanded to know why he was appearing on Kenyan media as opposed to local media.
Lissu himself addressed the matter during the interview when he revealed that no Tanzanian television or radio station had extended an invite to interview him since he returned to the country on July 27, for fear of state repression.
Lissu, who survived an assasination attempt in September 2017, only recently returned home after years in recovery and spoke on his plans to challenge incumbent President John Pombe Magufuli of Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) during the presidential elections slated for October.
In recent years, multiple reports have alleged that major TV and radio stations in Tanzania had been barred from covering opposition activities.
Chadema’s announcement asking their followers to engage Lissu on Radio Citizen, in particular, sparked heated debate.
“Citizen huku nilipo haipatikani kwanini hasihojiwe na media za ndani msirudie huyu anagombea Tanzania sio Kenya mtaaribu
(Citizen doesn’t broadcast where I am, why can’t he be interviewed on our local media. He is running in Tanzania, not Kenya, you will ruin it),” stated one Leodegard Cyril.
“Media za hapa zinapokea maagizo toka huu, hata wakialikwa Hawaii mfano mzuri ni [redacted] juzi waliweka taarifa za Lissu akipochukua fomu, ghafla wakazifuta hadi mitandaoni.
(Media here is under instructions from above, even if they are invited to cover something they won’t. A good example is a (leading station), they aired the news when Lissu submitted various forms only do delete it everywhere including online,” claimed one Deo Ryoba.
“Kwani mtanzania kuhojiwa na BBC ,Dw,Ntv ni vibaya? Au ni wigo mpana wa huyo mtu kufahamika zaidi huko na wanajua ukweli wake na ukubwa wa ujengaji hoja.
(What’s wrong if a Tanzanian is interviewed on BBC, DW or NTV? Or does it show his reach to many people and that even in other places they respect his arguments?)” wrote Haule Baraka.
The interview made headlines for other reasons as well, as Lissu declared that Chadema lacked trust in Tanzania’s electoral body to conduct a free and fair election.
“The chairman and the chief executive of the electoral commission were appointed by President Magufuli. They have proved over the years that they are not independent,” he stated.
â€” Radio Citizen (@RadioCitizenFM) August 10, 2020