Tanzanian opposition politician Godbless Lema has been granted asylum by the Kenyan government.
The immediate former Arusha Urban Constituency MP was released unconditionally on Monday, November 9 from Kajiado Police Station where he was being held.
Lema was arrested on Sunday, November 8 at Ilbisil while trying to flee his country, with his family (his wife Neema Godbless and their three children) taken into protective custody of the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHCR).
He thanked the Kenyan government for its intervention into the matter, insisting that his life is in danger back in Tanzania.
Lema and his family are said to have boarded a taxi from his home to Namanga border. Immigration officers refused to stamp their documents.
Mr. Lema then told the officers that because he was just crossing to Kenya to search for an international school for their children, he did not carry his passport. They then allowed his family but blocked him.
He requested that he be allowed to go change money into Kenyan currency, but upon reaching the Kenyan side, he and his family entered his lawyers, George Luchiri Wajackoyah, car and fled.
The officials at the border then alerted their Kenyan counterpart who alerted the police. They were pursued to Ilbisil where they were arrested.
Like Lema, Like Lissu…
Tanzania’s opposition presidential candidate in the just-concluded contentious election, Tundu Lissu, is currently holed up at the German embassy in Dar es Salaam.
Lissu, who was vying on a Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema) ticket, has been seeking refuge at the German ambassador’s residence since Monday, November 2 after claiming that his life is in danger.
Negotiations are underway to have him flown to Belgium where he wants to seek asylum for his safety.
The latest development in Tanzania is in stark contrast to what President John Pombe Magufuli promised when he was being sworn in.
Magufuli said that he will work with everyone, whether his voters or opposition loyals, in what was presumed to be the tough president extending an olive branch to his rivals.