Tanzanian politician Godbless Lema granted political asylum in Kenya

Tanzanian politician Godbless Lema granted political asylum in Kenya

Tanzanian politician Godbless Lema has been granted the political asylum in Kenya.

He claims President John Pombe Magufuli’s administration is out to persecute him politically.

“Ninazo taarifa na nimedhibitisha kuwa nilikuwa kuumizwa vibaya sana na singezipuuza taarifa hizo kwa sababu huko nyuma nimezika marafiki wangu wengi na wengine wameumizwa vibaya sana,” he told Citizen TV.

The former Arusha Urban Constituency MP was escorted to Nairobi after being processed at the Kajiado Police Station on Monday.

His wife and three children had already made their way to the country’s capital.

Tanzanian authorities arrested Lema alongside other politicians in the aftermath of the October 28 general elections.

They were however later released on a police bond without a charge: they had been ostensibly arrested for criticizing Magufuli’s administration for alleged strong arm tactics.

“Sijakimbia kodi ya nyumba, sijakimbia njaa nimekimbilia maisha yangu,” Lema told journalists on Monday.

His lawyer George Wajackoya added: “If someone applies for asylum he cannot be locked up in a police station, human rights must be applied always.”

Pressure had been mounting on the Kenyan Government to honor intentional refugee conventions and grant Lema asylum.

Amnesty International piled pressure on the government to allow Lema into the country.

The unfolding diplomatic events had the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Interior Ministry coordinate the safe passage of Godbless Lema into the country.

Government officials have indicated the former Arusha Urban MP will be protected and not extradited back to Tanzania.

Kenya has lately had a checkered diplomatic relationship with the Magufuli administration.

The Lema situation is likely to ignite another diplomatic battlefront should Tanzania feel that Kenya is harboring political persons of interest.

President John Pombe Magufuli was re-elected and sworn in for a second term in the disputed poll, whose outcome the opposition has rejected.

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