Tanzanian politician Godbless Lema leaves Nairobi for asylum in Canada

Godless Lema, his wife Neema and their three children. PHOTO | COURTESY
Godless Lema, his wife Neema and their three children. PHOTO | COURTESY

Fiery Tanzanian politician Godbless Lema, who was arrested in Kenya while fleeing persecution, has left Nairobi with his family after being granted political asylum in Canada.

According to his lawyer George Luchiri Wajackoyah, the politician was granted asylum following the intervention of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

“I want to thank President Uhuru Kenyatta and the Kenyan government for being an observer of human rights,” said Prof Wajackoyah as quoted by Tanzania’s Citizen newspaper.

Reports indicate that Lema, his wife Neema and their three children left Nairobi on Wednesday night.

They had been in Kenya for the last one month after fleeing from Tanzania citing fear for their lives.

Human rights group Amnesty International had raised concern over the rising number of opposition politicians leaving the country in fear.

Demas Kiprono, a program manager with Amnesty International Kenya, said they pushed for the Government to grant Lema asylum after he was arrested on November 8.

The former lawmaker in Tanzania’s Chadema party left for Kenya after being briefly detained following his loss in controversial  October elections.

A call for Lema to be granted asylum also came from Salum Mwalimu who ran on the opposition ticket with opposition leader Tundu Lissu.

According to him, it would not have been in Lema’s character to leave the country unless the threats he received were serious.

“I don’t think Lema just decided to take that decision. He is a senior politician, he is well experienced, and he has gone through tough moments. So, until he reached that decision, there must be something very serious which he knows by himself. If that’s the case, anything can happen to him,” he said.

Report from The Citizen Tanzania and VOA


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