Posted November 10, 2020 9:28 am by

NAIROBI, Kenya Nov 10 – Fiery Tanzanian politician Godbless Lema, who was arrested in Kenya while fleeing persecution has been freed.

Lema, a former MP for Arusha, fled with his wife and three children but was arrested by police officers in Bisil on the Nairobi-Namanga road. He was later handed over to authorities in Kajiado Police Station.

His lawyer George Wajackoyah protested his detention, saying Kenya was going against the international convention that requires protection for anyone fleeing his country for fear of political persecution.

“Kenya has the obligation to protect him, he should not have arrested at all,” Wajackoyah told reporters at Kajiado Police Station when the former MP was freed.

He said, “we have been in contact with the US Embassy in Dar Es Salaam and they want to know if we have reached the UNHCR offices.”

The former MP on his part told reporters that he fled his country on learning that there was a plot to assassinate him.

“I could not take such reports jokingly because I have lost a lot of friends and others are still missing. I knew they will kill me and that is why I fled with my wife and three children who are already in Nairobi,” he said, “let it be known that I am not fleeing hunger from my country. I am also not looking for a job. I am running to save my life.”

There has been a crackdown on Opposition leaders since President John Magufuli won the second term, trouncing his challenger Tundu Lissu who accused him of vote rigging.

Earlier Monday, Amnesty International had urged Kenyan authorities not to deport the former Tanzanian Opposition Member of Parliament.

Kenya’s Amnesty Executive Director Houghton Irungu said the alleged planned move by the Kenyan authorities would violate the principle of non-refoulment, an international principle also subscribed by Kenya, that prohibits a country from turning away people at the border or returning them to a country where they would be at risk of persecution or danger.

Lema, who has been critical of Magufuli’s administration, was on Sunday arrested by police in Kajiado after crossing the border alongside his wife and three children. His family was later freed.

Lema and his family crossed from Tanzania through the Namanga border and were arrested immediately after the Tanzanian authorities notified their Kenyan counterparts.

The former MP had reportedly declined to hand over his passport to Tanzanian immigration officials.

Irungu noted that deporting Lema back to Tanzania where Read More…Fleeing Tanzanian former MP Godbless Lema freed by police in Kenya  Fleeing Tanzanian former MP Godbless Lema freed by police in Kenya  Fleeing Tanzanian former MP Godbless Lema freed by police in Kenya  Fleeing Tanzanian former MP Godbless Lema freed by police in Kenya