Ex-Tanzanian MP fleeing Magufuli’s rule arrested in Kajiado, risks deportation

Godbless Lema
Former Arusha Urban MP in Tanzania Godbless Lema. [Photo: Courtesy]

A former Tanzanian MP who fled to Kenya on Sunday night has been arrested and detained by Kenyan police in Kajiado County.

Godbless Lema, who is the ex-Arusha Urban Constituency MP was arrested on Sunday night while trying to cross the Namanga border together with his wife and three kids.

Lema, a key leader of Tanzania’s Chadema party fled his mother country a few days after President John Pombe Magufuli was sworn in for a second term.

Before the recently concluded Tanzania General Elections, key opposition leaders including Chadema’s presidential candidate Tundu Lissu have been arrested.

Lema fled his home together with his family in a taxi that drive them to the Namaga border where they alighted.

However, he was taken in by police at the border since he did not have requisite documents to enter Kenya.

His wife Neema Godbless during questioning by the police said that she was coming to Kenya in search of an international school to enrol her children.

Following Lema’s arrest, Amnesty International Kenya has warned the Kenyan government of deporting the ex-Arusha MP Tanzania.

In a statement to newsrooms on Monday, the lobby group asked the Kenyan to process Lema’s asylum and free him.

Amnesty cited that deporting him would subject him to untold suffering under Magufuli’s administration including political persecution and imprisonment.

“Transferring Godbless Lema back to Tanzania, a country where he risks facing serious human rights violations, would itself amount to a human rights violation. The Government of Kenya is obligated to protect and provide sanctuary to Lema and his family.

“Kenya must not violate the internationally recognised principle of non-refoulment. The international principle is upheld by our own laws. It prohibits Kenya from turning away people at the border or returning them to their country where they would be at risk of danger,” the statement by Amnesty International Kenya read.

Lema together with other opposition leaders had been arrested last week but were later released over their calls for protest to call for the disbandment of Tanzanian polls citing ‘massive irregularity.”